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Am J Hypertens. 2009 May;22(5):538-44. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2009.33. Epub 2009 Mar 5.

Antihypertensive treatment with ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers and risk of incident atrial fibrillation in a general hypertensive population.

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Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



Secondary analyses of clinical trial data suggest that, compared with other agents, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are associated with lower risk of incident atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with heart failure, but data from the hypertension trials have been inconsistent. Information is scant about the association of beta-blocker use with AF risk in hypertensive patients without heart failure.


We conducted a population-based case-control study to determine whether antihypertensive treatment with ACE inhibitors/ARBs or beta-blockers, compared with diuretics, was associated with the risk of incident AF in a community practice setting. All patients (810 AF cases, 1,512 control subjects) were members of Group Health (GH), an integrated health-care delivery system, were pharmacologically treated for hypertension, and did not have heart failure. Medical records were reviewed to confirm the diagnosis of incident AF and to collect information on medical conditions and health behaviors. Information on antihypertensive medications was obtained from a pharmacy database.


Single-drug users of an ACE inhibitor/ARB had a lower risk of incident AF compared with single-drug users of a diuretic (adjusted odds ratio 0.63, 95% confidence interval 0.44-0.91). Single-drug use of beta-blockers was not significantly associated with lower AF risk (odds ratio 1.05, 95% confidence interval 0.73-1.52), and also none of the most commonly used two-drug regimens was significantly associated with AF risk, in comparison with single-drug use of diuretic.


In a general hypertensive population without heart failure, single-drug use of ACE inhibitors/ARBs was associated with lower AF risk.

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