High Blood Pressure in Atrial Fibrillation Increases Risk of Stroke

April 7, 2014
Rachel Lutz

In atrial fibrillation patients, high blood pressure is associated with increased risk of stroke, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington, DC in March.

High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke for atrial fibrillation (AF) patients, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington, DC in March.

Researchers from Duke Medicine examined blood pressure data from the ARISTOTLE clinical trial — which originally studied anticoagulant drugs used in AF treatment – encompassing more than 18,000 patients with atrial fibrillation.

The data showed strokes were more common among AF patients who had a history of high blood pressure, or who had high blood pressure at baseline. Stroke was increased among patients who had high blood pressure measurements at any point in the duration of the study.

“This study is unique in that we looked at patients with atrial fibrillation who had a history of high blood pressure, patients who had high blood pressure measurement at the start of the study, and blood pressure control during the course of the study,” lead author Meena Rao, MD, MPH, said in a press release. “We found that having high blood pressure at any point during the trial led to an increased risk of stroke by approximately 50% in patients with atrial fibrillation. This highlights the importance of blood pressure control in addition to anticoagulation to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.”