(HealthDay News) – Having blood pressure (BP) within the upper limits of normal can predict future atrial fibrillation (AF) in otherwise healthy, middle-aged men, according to a study published online January 17 in Hypertension.

Irene Grundvold, M.D., from the Oslo University Hospital in Norway, and colleagues utilized data from 35 years of follow-up in a prospective cardiovascular study to investigate the long-term impact of upper normal BP on incident AF. From 1972 to 1975, 2,014 healthy Norwegian men (aged 40 to 59 years) were recruited and underwent a clinical examination, including standardized BP measurements.

The researchers found that, based on hospital discharge data, 270 men were documented with AF during the follow-up period. Men with baseline systolic BP ≥140mmHg had a 1.60-fold increased risk of incident AF, and those with upper normal BP in the range of 128 to 138 mm Hg had a 1.50-fold increased risk of AF, compared with men with BP <128mmHg. Compared with a baseline diastolic BP <80mmHg, baseline diastolic BP ≥80 mm Hg increased the risk of incident AF 1.79-fold. The associations remained significant even after adjusting for diabetes mellitus or cardiovascular diseases before an AF event. Analyses carried out an average of seven years after baseline, and including healthy mean, showed that sustained upper normal systolic BP was still a significant predictor of AF risk.

“Upper normal blood pressures are long-term predictors of incident AF in initially healthy middle-aged men,” write the authors.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)