Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and atrial fibrillation: possible pathophysiological links and therapeutic interventions

Authors Hossein Haghbin, Manesh Kumar Gangwani, Shri Jai Kirshan Ravi, Abilash Perisetti, Muhammad Aziz, Hemant Goyal, Ali Nawras, Thomas Sodeman.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) share common risk factors and appear to have an association. Independently, the incidence and prevalence of both diseases are on the rise. Epidemiological evidence, experimental studies and various randomized clinical trials suggest a link between the 2 entities, delineating cumulative risks and clinical strategies to improve outcomes. Dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, inflammatory milieu, and activation of the reninangiotensin system are likely common pathophysiological mechanisms linking AF and NAFLD. In this article we review the known pathways and pathophysiology that link the 2 conditions. This review also discusses therapies that target both NAFLD and AF, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers, statins, metformin, and vitamin E. We further discuss other potential medications that have shown effects in NAFLD or AF through anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, lipid-lowering, or renin-angiotensin system inhibiting effects. Future epidemiological studies are needed to establish a direct causal relationship between NAFLD and AF.

Keywords Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, atrial fibrillation, treatment, intervention, pathophysiology

Ann Gastroenterol 2020; 33 (6): 603-614

Review Articles