Ventricular rate in atrial fibrillation and the risk of heart failure and death

Abstract

AIMS: While clinical trials have suggested that a high ventricular rate is associated with increased risk of heart failure (HF) and mortality, all-comers studies are warranted.

OBJECTIVE: To assess 1-year risk of new-onset diagnosed HF and all-cause mortality among rate-control treated patients presenting with atrial fibrillation (AF) on an electrocardiogram (ECG) according to ventricular rate.

METHODS AND RESULTS: ECGs recorded at the Copenhagen General Practitioners Laboratory (2001-15) were used to identify patients with AF. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to compare risk of new-onset HF and all-cause mortality after first ECG presenting with AF according to ventricular rate on ECG [<60, 60-79, 80-99, and 100-110, > 110 beats per minute (bpm)]. We identified 7408 patients in treatment with rate control drugs at time of first ECG presenting with AF [median age 78 years (Q1,Q3 = 70-85 years)], 45.8% male, median ventricular rate 83 bpm, (Q1,Q3 = 71-101 bpm)]. During 1-year follow-up, 666 (9.0%) of all patients with AF developed HF and 858 (11.6%) died. Patients with AF ventricular rates 100-110 bpm and >110 bpm had a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.46 (CI: 1.10-1.95) and 2.41 (CI: 1.94-3.00) respectively for new-onset HF, compared with 60-79 bpm. Similarly, patients with AF ventricular rates 100-110 bpm and >110 bpm had a HR of 1.44 (CI: 1.13-1.82) and 1.34 (CI: 1.08-1.65) respectively for all-cause mortality, compared with 60-79 bpm.

CONCLUSIONS: Ventricular rates ≥100 bpm among patients presenting with AF on ECG in treatment with rate control drugs were associated with greater risk of both new-onset HF and all-cause mortality.

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