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      Raised Plasma Aldosterone and Natriuretic Peptides in Atrial Fibrillation

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          Background and Aims: During atrial fibrillation (AF), the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) may be activated.In this study, our aim was to evaluate at a long-term follow-up visit the levels of plasma aldosterone and natriuretic peptides as markers of neurohormonal remodeling in patients with earlier, documented AF in relation to present heart rhythm, clinical data, and the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). We hypothesized that increased levels of aldosterone and natriuretic peptides were significantly associated with present AF as markers of RAAS activation during the arrhythmia. Methods: We studied 158 patients with earlier ECG-documented AF followed by restored sinus rhythm (SR) attending a follow-up visit 2.6 years (mean) after primary inclusion. Results: At follow-up, 93 patients had SR. Heart rhythm at follow-up visit (SR/AF), plasma aldosterone, plasma N-terminal pro Brain Natriuretic Peptide (Nt- proBNP), plasma N-terminal pro Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (Nt-proANP), LVEF, medication, and clinical characteristics were recorded. Standard linear multiple regression analysis including age, sex, weight, hypertension, congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, present AF at follow-up, total duration of AF disease, ongoing medication, and the LVEF as explanatory variables showed that only ongoing treatment with diuretics was significantly associated (likelihood ratio test, p = 0.0057) with a raised log-transformed plasma aldosterone, although present AF at follow-up was related to a high aldosterone level (p = 0.09). For the natriuretic peptides, present AF at follow-up (p < 0.0001), age (p < 0.0001), female gender (p = 0.0047), ischemic heart disease (p = 0.0154), and ongoing treatment with sotalol (p = 0.0003) were all independently associated with high log-transformed plasma Nt-proANP. Likewise, present AF at follow-up (p = 0.0008) as well as age (p < 0.0001) were associated with high log-transformed plasma Nt-proBNP. Conclusions: In patients with earlier AF, AF at long-term follow-up visit was independently associated with raised levels of Nt-proANP and Nt-proBNP and to some extent with plasma aldosterone indicating neurohormonal activation during arrhythmia.

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          Most cited references 13

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          A comparison of rate control and rhythm control in patients with atrial fibrillation.

          There are two approaches to the treatment of atrial fibrillation: one is cardioversion and treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs to maintain sinus rhythm, and the other is the use of rate-controlling drugs, allowing atrial fibrillation to persist. In both approaches, the use of anticoagulant drugs is recommended. We conducted a randomized, multicenter comparison of these two treatment strategies in patients with atrial fibrillation and a high risk of stroke or death. The primary end point was overall mortality. A total of 4060 patients (mean [+/-SD] age, 69.7+/-9.0 years) were enrolled in the study; 70.8 percent had a history of hypertension, and 38.2 percent had coronary artery disease. Of the 3311 patients with echocardiograms, the left atrium was enlarged in 64.7 percent and left ventricular function was depressed in 26.0 percent. There were 356 deaths among the patients assigned to rhythm-control therapy and 310 deaths among those assigned to rate-control therapy (mortality at five years, 23.8 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively; hazard ratio, 1.15 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.99 to 1.34]; P=0.08). More patients in the rhythm-control group than in the rate-control group were hospitalized, and there were more adverse drug effects in the rhythm-control group as well. In both groups, the majority of strokes occurred after warfarin had been stopped or when the international normalized ratio was subtherapeutic. Management of atrial fibrillation with the rhythm-control strategy offers no survival advantage over the rate-control strategy, and there are potential advantages, such as a lower risk of adverse drug effects, with the rate-control strategy. Anticoagulation should be continued in this group of high-risk patients. Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients with a history of atrial fibrillation: The Losartan Intervention For End Point Reduction in Hypertension (LIFE) study.

            We assessed the impact of antihypertensive treatment in hypertensive patients with electrocardiographic (ECG) left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and a history of atrial fibrillation (AF). Optimal treatment of hypertensive patients with AF to reduce the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality remains unclear. As part of the Losartan Intervention For End point reduction in hypertension (LIFE) study, 342 hypertensive patients with AF and LV hypertrophy were assigned to losartan- or atenolol-based therapy for 1,471 patient-years of follow-up. The primary composite end point (cardiovascular mortality, stroke, and myocardial infarction) occurred in 36 patients in the losartan group versus 67 in the atenolol group (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.39 to 0.88, p = 0.009). Cardiovascular deaths occurred in 20 versus 38 patients in the losartan and atenolol groups, respectively (HR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.99, p = 0.048). Stroke occurred in 18 versus 38 patients (HR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.97, p = 0.039), and myocardial infarction in 11 versus 8 patients (p = NS). Losartan-based treatment led to trends toward lower all-cause mortality (30 vs. 49, HR = 0.67, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.06, p = 0.090) and fewer pacemaker implantations (5 vs. 15, p = 0.065), whereas hospitalization for heart failure took place in 15 versus 26 patients and sudden cardiac death in 9 versus 17, respectively (both p = NS). The benefit of losartan was greater in patients with AF than those with sinus rhythm for the primary composite end point (p = 0.019) and cardiovascular mortality (p = 0.039). Losartan is more effective than atenolol-based therapy in reducing the risk of the primary composite end point of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality as well as stroke and cardiovascular death in hypertensive patients with ECG LV hypertrophy and AF.
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              Use of enalapril to facilitate sinus rhythm maintenance after external cardioversion of long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation. Results of a prospective and controlled study.

              This study aimed to assess whether enalapril could improve cardioversion outcome and facilitate sinus rhythm maintenance after conversion of chronic atrial fibrillation (AF). Patients with chronic AF for more than 3 months were assigned to receive either amiodarone (200mg orally 3 times a day; group I: n=75) or the same dosage of amiodarone plus enalapril (10mg twice a day; group II: n=70) 4 weeks before scheduled external cardioversion. The end-point was the time to first recurrence of AF. In 125 patients (86.2%), AF was converted to sinus rhythm. Group II had a trend to a trend to a lower rate of immediate recurrence of AF than group I did (4.3% vs 14.7%, P=0.067). Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated a higher probability of group II remaining in sinus rhythm at 4 weeks (84.3% vs 61.3%, P=0.002) and at the median follow-up period of 270 days (74.3% vs 57.3%, P=0.021) than in group II. The addition of enalapril to amiodarone decreased the rate of immediate and subacute arrhythmia recurrences and facilitated subsequent long-term maintenance of sinus rhythm after cardioversion of persistent AF.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2007
                12 September 2006
                : 108
                : 1
                : 35-39
                aDepartment of Cardiology, University Hospital of Gentofte, Hellerup, bDanish Arrhythmia Research Centre, and cDepartment of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Glostrup Hospital, University of Copenhagen and dDepartment of Cardiology, University Hospital of Hvidovre, Copenhagen, Denmark
                95671 Cardiology 2007;108:35–39
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 3, References: 23, Pages: 5
                Original Research


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