Atrial fibrillation is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Hypertension is an important risk factor for the development of atrial fibrillation.Aim
This study assessed the relationship between blood pressure control and new-onset atrial fibrillation in hypertensive patients.Methods and results
We followed 45,530 hypertensive patients with no previously documented atrial fibrillation, attending primary healthcare in Sweden during 2001–2008. After a mean follow-up of 3.5 years 2057 patients (4.5%) developed atrial fibrillation. Compared to patients with no atrial fibrillation, the new-onset atrial fibrillation group (after adjustment for age, sex, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and number of visits) had higher mean in-treatment systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure of 3.8 mmHg (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.0–4.6; P < 0.0001) and 1.6 mmHg (95% CI 1.2–2.0; P < 0.0001), respectively. Similarly, mean in-treatment pulse pressure in the new-onset atrial fibrillation group was 2.2 mmHg (95% CI 1.6–2.9; P < 0.001) higher. In a logistic regression analysis, achieved SBP ≥ 140 mmHg was associated with a higher risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation, compared to SBP 130–139 mmHg (odds ratio (OR) 1.5; 95% CI 1.3–1.7) and to SBP < 130 mmHg (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.1–1.5). There was no difference in risk for new-onset AF between SBP 130–139 and <130 mmHg (OR 0.9; 95% CI 0.7–1.1).Conclusion
The present findings indicate that blood pressure control in hypertension is associated with a lower risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation.