OBJECTIVES - We investigated whether inhibition of endogenous angiotensin II signaling reduces the recurrence rate of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients enrolled in the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-up Investigation of Rhythm Management (AFFIRM) study.
BACKGROUND - Structural and electrical remodeling contribute to AF. Previous experimental studies have implicated the angiotensin II signaling pathway in this process, and recent clinical evidence supports a beneficial effect of inhibiting angiotensin II activity.
METHODS - Using the AFFIRM database, we retrospectively identified a cohort of patients randomized to the rhythm-control arm who were in sinus rhythm. Exposure to angiotensin II receptor blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ANGI) was determined, and the time to first recurrence of AF was compared between ANGI users and nonusers.
RESULTS - The study cohort included 732 patients not taking ANGI through the initial 2-month follow-up and 421 patients taking ANGI during this time. Patients in the ANGI group more likely had hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure compared to patients not taking ANGI. Risk of AF recurrence in the ANGI treatment group did not differ from the risk observed in patients not taking the drugs (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.77-1.09). However, in patients with congestive heart failure or impaired left ventricular function, ANGI use was associated with a lower risk of AF recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS - This analysis provides evidence that ANGI use may be beneficial in some patient subgroups with AF and underscores the need for randomized clinical trials defining more fully the role of angiotensin II inhibition in treating AF.