Background: Different antihypertensive drug classes may alter risk for atrial fibrillation. Some studies suggest that drugs that interfere with the reninâ€“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 caseâ€“control analysis.
Setting: The United Kingdomâ€“based General Practice Research Database, a well-validated primary care database comprising approximately 5 million patient records.
Patients: 4661 patients with atrial fibrillation and 18Â 642 matched control participants from a population of 682Â 993 patients treated for hypertension.
Measurements: A comparison of the risk for atrial fibrillation among hypertensive users of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin IIâ€“receptor blockers (ARBs), or Î²-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 Î²-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 Î²-blockers reduces the risk for atrial fibrillation compared with receipt of calcium-channel blockers.
Primary Funding Source: None.