Reduced incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation with angiotensin II receptor blockade: the VALUE trial

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Abstract

Background

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia and increases cardiovascular risk in hypertensive patients. Therefore, in the Valsartan Antihypertensive Long-term Use Evaluation (VALUE) a prespecified objective was to compare the effects of valsartan and amlodipine on new-onset AF.

Methods

A total of 15 245 hypertensive patients at high cardiovascular risk received valsartan 80–160 mg/day or amlodipine 5–10 mg/day combined with additional antihypertensive agents. Electrocardiograms were obtained every year and analyzed centrally for evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy and new-onset AF.

Results

At baseline, AF was diagnosed in 2.6% of 7649 valsartan recipients and 2.6% of 7596 amlodipine recipients. During antihypertensive treatment the incidence of at least one documented occurrence of new-onset AF was 3.67% with valsartan and 4.34% with amlodipine {unadjusted hazard ratio 0.843, [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.713, 0.997], P = 0.0455}. The incidence of persistent AF was 1.35% with valsartan and 1.97% with amlodipine [unadjusted hazard ratio 0.683 (95% CI: 0.525, 0.889), P = 0.0046].

Conclusions

Valsartan-based treatment reduced the development of new-onset AF, particularly sustained AF in hypertensive patients, compared with amlodipine-based therapy. These findings suggest that angiotensin II receptor blockers may result in greater benefits than calcium antagonists in hypertensive patients at risk of new-onset AF.

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