Hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias: a review of the epidemiology, pathophysiology and clinical implications

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Hypertension is commonly associated with cardiac arrhythmias in patients with and without concomitant cardiovascular disease. Experimental and epidemiological studies have demonstrated potential links between hypertension and atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, although the underlying pathophysiological mechanism remains unclear. Nonetheless, the importance of hypertension as a cause of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias is not well recognized. In particular, the occurrence of left ventricular hypertrophy is a strong predictor for the development of AF, ventricular ectopy and sudden cardiac death. Recent prospective clinical trials reveal that antihypertensive therapy may delay or prevent the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in patients with hypertension. Although antihypertensive agents that block the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system appear to protect against cardiac arrhythmias, this needs to be confirmed by current ongoing clinical trials.

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