(HealthDay News) — Intensive blood pressure (BP) control can lower the risk for atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with hypertension at high risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online in Hypertension.
Elsayed Z. Soliman, MD, from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues used data from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial to assess whether intensive BP lowering (target systolic BP <120 mm Hg) results in a lower risk for AF versus standard BP lowering (target systolic BP <140 mm Hg). The analysis included 4003 participants randomly assigned to the intensive BP arm and 4019 to the standard BP arm.
The researchers found that during 5.2 years of follow-up, there were 206 incident AF cases (88 in the intensive BP-lowering arm and 118 in the standard BP-lowering arm). Intensive BP lowering was associated with a lower risk for new AF (hazard ratio, 0.74). This effect was consistent when participants were stratified by age, sex, race, systolic BP tertiles, prior cardiovascular disease, and prior chronic kidney disease.
“Hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for atrial fibrillation,” Soliman said in a statement. “And now, we have a potential pathway for prevention.”