INTRODUCTION: Although there is strong evidence of an association between general adiposity and incidence of heart failure, previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses have not reliably assessed the association of heart failure risk with other aspects of body composition (such as body fat distribution or lean mass), or between body composition and risk of heart failure subtypes. We aim to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies to address these uncertainties, and inform efforts to prevent and treat heart failure. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses for Protocols statement was used as a template for this protocol. A systematic search of Medline, Embase and Global Health from database inception to present will be conducted to identify prospective studies reporting on the associations between major measures of body composition (body mass index, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, total body fat, visceral adiposity tissue and lean mass) and risk of heart failure. Article screening and selection will be performed by two reviewers independently, and disagreements will be adjudicated by consensus or by a third reviewer. Data from eligible articles will be extracted, and article quality will be assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Relative risks (and 95% CIs) will be pooled in a fixed effect meta-analysis, if there is no prohibitive heterogeneity of studies as assessed using the Cochrane Q statistic and I2 statistic. Subgroup analyses will be by age, sex, ethnicity and heart failure subtypes. Publication bias in the meta-analysis will be assessed using Egger's test and funnel plots. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This work is secondary analyses on published data and ethical approval is not required. We plan to publish results in an open-access peer-reviewed journal, present it at international and national conferences, and share the findings on social media. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020224584.
epidemiology, heart failure, meta-analysis, obesity, systematic reviews as topic