NEXAF Research on Atrial Fibrillation and Exercise

NEXAF – The Norwegian Exercise and Atrial Fibrillation Initiative

NEXAF is a research initiative that aims to improve knowledge on effects of exercise in individuals with the cardiac arrhythmias atrial fibrillation. NEXAF consist both clinical and epidemiological studies, with national and international collaboration, addressing how different subgroups of atrial fibrillation patients could benefit from exercise intervention.


NEXAF Trial

Current guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation lack specific recommendations for exercise in patients with atrial fibrillation, leaving many patients and their physicians with uncertainty. The Norwegian Exercise and Atrial Fibrillation Trial aims to study how moderate levels of physical activity and exercise, corresponding to the current recommendations for the general population, may affect symptoms and quality of life in patients with atrial fibrillation. Furthermore, we aim to study how regular physical activity may have an impact on the burden of atrial fibrillation, cardiovascular risk factors, the physical capacity and the cardiac function of atrial fibrillation patients.

The study participants are randomised to attend a guided and individually tailored exercise intervention for 12 months, or a control group. The exercise intervention includes some training sessions with a personal trainer, but the majority of the exercise will be individual with follow-up by use of a sports watch and a mobile phone application that allows the study participant and the researchers to communicate.

All study participants will receive a heart rythm monitor implanted under the skin on their chest, and undergo clinical evaluation and a test of their exercise capacity at the beginning of the study, and after 12 months.

The study is led by St.Olavs Hospital and The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, but patients are also included at Bærum sykehus and at the University Hospital of Tromsø.


NEXAF Detraining

The trial Effects of Detraining in Endurance Atheltes with Atrial Fibrillation (NEXAF Detraining) includes athletes that have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. While moderate levels of physical activity and exercise prevents both atrial fibrillation and many other diseases, more vigorous and prolonged endurance exercise over many years, seems to promote the development of atrial fibrillation in some people. NEXAF Detraining aims to study whether a period of reduced exercise intensity may reduced burden of atrial fibrillation and atrial fibrillation symptoms in endurance athletes with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

All study participants will receive a heart rythm monitor implanted under the skin on their chest, and undergo clinical evaluation and a test of their exercise capacity at the beginning of the study, and after 4 months.

The study participants are randomized to either detraining (training with reduced intensity corresponding to a heart rate not exceeding 75% of the individual maximal heart rate), or to uphold high intensity during training sessions, for a period of 16 weeks.

This trial is led by Bærum Hospital, but also includes study participants at St.Olavs Hospital I Trondheim, at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Insititue in Melbourne, Australia, and at the following hospitals in Belgium: The University Hospital Leuven, Antwerp University Hospital, AZ Jan Palfijn Gent  and Jessa Hospital Hassel.


NEXAF Prevention

NEXAF Prevention consists of epidemiological studies on associations between physical activity and exercise, atrial fibrillation and complications of atrial fibrillation, such as stroke and death. The analyses are based on data from population-based studies in Tromsø (The Tromsø Study) and Trøndelag (The HUNT-study).