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Ann Intern Med. 2010 Jan 19;152(2):78-84. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-152-2-201001190-00005.

Risk for incident atrial fibrillation in patients who receive antihypertensive drugs: a nested case-control study.

Author information

1
University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Different antihypertensive drug classes may alter risk for atrial fibrillation. Some studies suggest that drugs that interfere with the renin-angiotensin system may be favorable because of their effect on atrial remodeling.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess and compare the relative risk for incident atrial fibrillation among hypertensive patients who receive antihypertensive drugs from different classes.

DESIGN:

Nested case-control analysis.

SETTING:

The United Kingdom-based General Practice Research Database, a well-validated primary care database comprising approximately 5 million patient records.

PATIENTS:

4661 patients with atrial fibrillation and 18,642 matched control participants from a population of 682,993 patients treated for hypertension.

MEASUREMENTS:

A comparison of the risk for atrial fibrillation among hypertensive users of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II-receptor blockers (ARBs), or beta-blockers with the reference group of users of calcium-channel blockers. Patients with clinical risk factors for atrial fibrillation were excluded.

RESULTS:

Current exclusive long-term therapy with ACE inhibitors (odds ratio [OR], 0.75 [95% CI, 0.65 to 0.87]), ARBs (OR, 0.71 [CI, 0.57 to 0.89]), or beta-blockers (OR, 0.78 [CI, 0.67 to 0.92]) was associated with a lower risk for atrial fibrillation than current exclusive therapy with calcium-channel blockers.

LIMITATION:

Blood pressure changes during treatment courses could not be evaluated, and risk for bias by indication cannot be fully excluded in an observational study.

CONCLUSION:

In hypertensive patients, long-term receipt of ACE inhibitors, ARBs, or beta-blockers reduces the risk for atrial fibrillation compared with receipt of calcium-channel blockers.

PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE:

None.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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