Low resting heart rates are associated with new-onset atrial fibrillation in patients with vascular disease: results of the ONTARGET/TRANSCEND studies
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BACKGROUND: Elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) and high resting heart rate (HR) are associated with cardiovascular end-points. Although the association between atrial fibrillation (AF) and SBP is well established, the relation between AF and HR remains unclear. METHODS: In patients from the ONTARGET and TRANSCEND studies with high cardiovascular disease risk (n = 27 064), new-onset AF was evaluated in relation to mean SBP, visit-to-visit variation in SBP (SBP-CV; i.e. SD/mean × 100%), mean HR and visit-to-visit variation in HR (HR-CV). RESULTS: Low mean HR (P < 0.0001) and high SBP (P = 0.0021) were associated with incident AF. High SBP-CV (P = 0.031) and HR-CV (P < 0.0001) were also associated with incident AF. After adjustment for confounders, SBP and SBP-CV were no longer significantly associated with AF. The detrimental effect of low HR was particularly evident in subjects who were not receiving treatment with beta-blockers (P = 0.014 for interaction between beta-blocker use and mean HR). In addition to low HR, high HR-CV and high SBP had additive effects on incident AF. CONCLUSIONS: Low mean HR (<60 beats min(-1) ) is independently associated with incident AF, and low HR-CV and high SBP further increase the incidence of new-onset AF in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
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