1. Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
2. Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiao-Kang Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
3. Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Background. Atrial fibrillation (AF) and vascular disease share several risk factors and the two diseases often coexist. Heart rate (HR) is reported to be a major determinant of arterial stiffness. AF patients often have a transiently or persistently rapid HR. Hence, this study was to assess whether AF was significantly associated with arterial stiffness and HR could significantly influence the relationship between AF and arterial stiffness. Besides, we also determine the main correlates of arterial stiffness in AF patients and see whether HR was correlated with arterial stiffness in these patients.
Methods. We included 166 AF and 1336 non-AF patients from subjects arranged for echocardiographic examinations. Arterial stiffness was assessed by brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV).
Results. Compared to non-AF patients, AF patients had a higher baPWV (p <0.001). In a multivariate model, including covariates of age, sex, blood pressures and so on, the presence of AF was significantly associated with baPWV (β = 0.079, P = 0.001). However, further adjustment for HR made this association disappear (β = 0.005, P = 0.832). In addition to age and systolic blood pressure, increased HR (β = 0.309, p <0.001) was a major determinant of increased baPWV in our AF patients.
Conclusions. This study demonstrated the presence of AF was associated with increased baPWV, but this association became insignificant after further adjustment for HR, which suggested HR could significantly influence the relationship between AF and baPWV. Besides, HR was positively correlated with arterial stiffness in our AF patients.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation, arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity, heart rate