Preventive effect of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors on new-onset atrial fibrillation in hypertensive patients: a propensity score matching analysis

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It is still controversial whether treatment with renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors reduces the risk of incident atrial fibrillation (AF). This longitudinal observational study was performed to investigate the confounder-independent effects of RAS inhibitors on new-onset AF in hypertensive patients. Among 1263 consecutive hypertensive patients who underwent echocardiography, 964 eligible patients (mean age, 63 years) were enrolled as the study population. Forty-nine patients developed new-onset AF during the follow-up period (mean: 4.6 years). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that the cumulative AF event rate was lower in patients receiving RAS inhibitors than in patients without these drugs, but the difference between these two groups was not significant (P = 0.057). Since the use of RAS inhibitors was influenced by concomitant diabetes, chronic kidney disease and left ventricular hypertrophy, propensity score matching (1:1) was employed to minimize the influence of selection bias for RAS inhibitors. Clinical and echocardiographic parameters showed no significant differences between the propensity score-matched groups with and without RAS inhibitor therapy (both n = 326), but the cumulative AF event rate was significantly lower in the group receiving RAS inhibitors (P = 0.013). Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses also revealed that RAS inhibitor therapy was associated with a significantly lower risk of new-onset AF during the follow-up period. In conclusion, this propensity score matching study demonstrated that the incidence of new-onset AF was lower in hypertensive patients receiving RAS inhibitor therapy.

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