Is Vigorous Long Term Endurance Sports a Risk Factor for Developing Atrial Fibrillation? - For Patients. By Patients - Stop Atrial Fibrillation

UPDATE: As of 6-10-14, triathletes with afib are still needed. Please contact Dr. Opondo (contact info below) if you can help.


The Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (IEEM), in conjunction with UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, is seeking healthy individuals to participate in a research study.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether long term vigorous sports increase the risk to develop an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation). Several studies have reported an association between vigorous sports done over a prolonged period of time and atrial fibrillation, especially seen by middle age.

This study will focus on triathletes and would like to assess changes that occur in the heart in response to triathlon training and will evaluate the potential risk to develop this heart rhythm abnormality.

Study participants will receive comprehensive exercise testing, echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), an advanced EKG measurement and heart monitoring via a recently released small patch placed externally on the chest.


  • Be a male or female within the age range of 45-64
  • Be a Triathlete, with participation of not less than 5 years.
  • Have completed a full or half triathlon event within the past 1 year
  • Be currently training for a triathlon event
  • NOT have health conditions such as:
    • High blood pressure (SBP ≥ 140; DBP ≥ 90)
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity (BMI ≥ 30)
    • Lung disease, including sleep apnea
  • Not currently be taking antiarrhythmic medications for atrial fibrillation, or have a history of ablation for atrial fibrillation
  • Be a non-smoker
  • Be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

If you are interested, or know of individuals who may qualify, please contact:

Mildred Opondo, M.D. 
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
[email protected]
Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas

3 Responses to Is Vigorous Long Term Endurance Sports a Risk Factor for Developing Atrial Fibrillation?

    • mmoss says:

      Thanks for the idea. This is not our study, we just posted it for the researchers who are trying to have a homogenous group to research in order to limit the variables, and thus have focused on triathletes at a certain skill level.

      We are working with another academic organization to study athletes of all kinds. We should know by the end of the year whether that study has been funded. If it is funded, we will reach out for athletes of all kinds to participate.

      Thanks for your interest in athletics and afib, and how they may be correlated.

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