The aim of the present study was to compare the predictive role of isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) and combined systolic-diastolic hypertension for the incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in essential hypertension.
We followed up 1605 essential hypertensives with office systolic blood pressure (BP) > or =140 mmHg [mean age 58.1 years, 842 males, office BP = 153/92 mmHg] for a mean period of 8 years. Patients with baseline ISH exhibited office systolic BP >or =140 mmHg and office diastolic BP <90 mmHg, while those with systolic-diastolic hypertension had office systolic BP > or =140 mmHg and office diastolic BP > or = 90 mmHg. Moreover, new-onset AF was defined as hospitalization for AF or compatible electrocardiographic tracings.
The incidence of new-onset AF over the follow-up period was 3.4% (n = 55). Patients with ISH (n = 510) compared to those with systolic-diastolic hypertension (n = 1095) were older (65 ± 10 vs 55 ± 11 years, p < 0.0001), had at baseline lower office systolic BP (149 ± 10 vs 155 ± 13 mmHg, p < 0.0001) and office diastolic BP (80 ± 5 vs 98 ± 7 mmHg, p < 0.0001), while did not differ regarding left ventricular mass index (p = NS). Univariate Cox regression analysis revealed that baseline ISH (hazard ratio = 4.612, p = 0.013) and systolic-diastolic hypertension (hazard ratio = 1.794, p = 0.036) predicted new-onset AF. However, in multivariate Cox regression model, age (hazard ratio = 1.078, p < 0.001), left atrium diameter (hazard ratio = 1.102, p < 0.001) and ISH (hazard ratio = 1.551, p = 0.035) but not systolic-diastolic hypertension turned out to be independent predictors of new-onset AF episodes.
In hypertensive patients, ISH but not systolic-diastolic hypertension exhibits independent prognostic value for AF. These findings support that ISH constitutes a hypertensive phenotype of increased risk for AF needing careful management.
First Cardiology Clinic, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Hippokration Hospital, Athens, Greece