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Does heart rate control improve outcome in AF?

Mortality risk is lower for atrial fibrillation patients receiving rate-control treatment with β-blockers or calcium channel blockers, and the use of β-blockers is associated with the largest risk reduction, according to a study published recently in Circulation.1

This study used the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. There were 43,879, 18,466, and 38,898 patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) enrolled in the groups receiving β-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and digoxin, respectively. The reference group consisted of 168,678 subjects who did not receive any rate-control drug. The clinical end point was all-cause mortality. During a follow-up of 4.9±3.7 years, mortality occurred in 88,263 patients (32.7%).

After adjustment for baseline differences, the risk of mortality was lower in patients receiving β-blockers (adjusted hazard ratio=0.76; 95% confidence interval=0.74–0.78) and calcium channel blockers (adjusted hazard ratio=0.93; 95% confidence interval=0.90–0.96) compared with those who did not receive rate-control medications. On the contrary, the digoxin group had a higher risk of mortality with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.12 (95% confidence interval=1.10–1.14). The results were observed consistently in subgroup analyses and among the cohorts after propensity matching.

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Dr Chern-En Chiang (Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan)

Speaking to BJC Arrhythmia Watch, Dr Chern-En Chiang (Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan) said: “Current guidelines emphasise the importance of rate-control treatments in treating AF with a Class I recommendation, although data on the survival benefits of rate control are lacking. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether patients receiving rate-control drugs had a better prognosis compared with those without rate-control treatment. This study used the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) in Taiwan.”

“There were 43,879, 18,466, and 38,898 patients with AF enrolled in the groups receiving β-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and digoxin, respectively. The reference group consisted of 168,678 subjects who did not receive any rate-control drug. The clinical end point was all-cause mortality. During a follow-up of 4.9±3.7 years and after adjustment for baseline differences, the risk of mortality was lower in patients receiving β-blockers (adjusted hazard ratio=0.76; 95% confidence interval=0.74–0.78) and calcium channel blockers (adjusted hazard ratio=0.93; 95% confidence interval=0.90–0.96) compared with those who did not receive rate-control medications,” Dr Chiang added.

“On the contrary, the digoxin group had a higher risk of mortality with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.12 (95% confidence interval=1.10–1.14). The results were observed consistently in subgroup analyses and among the cohorts after propensity matching. In conclusion, the risk of mortality was lower for patients receiving rate-control treatment with β-blockers or calcium channel blockers, and the use of β-blockers was associated with the largest risk reduction. Digoxin use was associated with greater mortality, which was in line with recent reports,” Dr Chiang concluded.

References

1. Chao TF, Liu CJ, Tuan TC, et al. Rate-control treatment and mortality in atrial fibrillation. Circulation 2015;132:1604–12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.013709

Published on: October 30, 2015

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ENDORSED BY

  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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