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Atrial fibrillation and coronary heart disease: fatal attraction

In this manuscript, the profile and clinical management of hypertensive patients with chronic ischemic heart disease and atrial fibrillation (AF) is examined and whether high heart rate is associated with a different profile is determined. CINHTIA was a cross-sectional and multicenter survey aimed to define the clinical profile of hypertensive patients with chronic ischemic heart disease daily attended in Spain. Blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol and diabetes control rates were established according to ESH-ESC 2003, NCEP-ATP III and ADA 2005 guidelines, respectively. Out of the 2024 patients, 338 (16.7%) exhibited AF. The group of patients with AF was older and with higher prevalence of diabetes, organ damage and cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure (41.8% vs 34.5%, p=0.014) and diabetes (28.5% vs 20.9%,p=0.044) were worse controlled in patients with AF, with a trend to a lower control of LDL-cholesterol (31.2% vs 26.8%, p=0.093). When distributing patients with AF according to heart rate, except for smoking, left ventricular hypertrophy and peripheral arterial disease that were more frequent in those with higher heart rate, no significant differences were found in other risk factors or organ damage between groups. Blood pressure, glycemia and LDL-cholesterol were worse controlled in the subgroup with highest heart rate. In clinical practice, hypertensive patients with chronic ischemic heart disease and AF have a bad prognosis not only due to a worse clinical profile, but also due to lower risk factors control rates. In contrast with patients at sinus rhythm, higher heart rate was a weaker predictor of outcomes in subjects with AF.

Credits: Vivencio Barrios, MD, PhD; Carlos Escobar, MD, PhD; Rocio Echarri, MD

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Introduction to AFib
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