Little direct information is available on the effect of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) lowering on the reduction of recurrent atrial fibrillation (AF).Methods and Results
We compared low-dose glucocorticoid therapy (16 mg methylprednisolone for 4 weeks tapered to 4 mg for 4 months) and placebo in 104 patients who had experienced persistent AF with a median concentration of CRP 1.14 mg/dL (min=0.01, max=2.58). Methylprednisolone reduced recurrent AF (primary end-point) from 50% in the placebo group to 9.6% in the glucocorticoid group and permanent AF (expanded end-point) from 29% in the placebo group to 2% in the glucocorticoid group. Survival distributions for methylprednisolone were significantly different (for both primary and expanded end-point, P<0.001). In multivariate Cox analysis, average CRP concentrations during follow-up were significant predictors of the primary end-point, with a relative risk 6.72 (P=0.006) and the expanded end-point, with a relative risk of 11.67 (P=0.0006).Conclusions
CRP concentration is a risk factor for recurrent and permanent AF. Methylprednisolone successfully prevents recurrent and permanent AF.