(HealthDay News) – Elderly patients with hypertension who receive statin therapy have a reduced risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), with statins particularly effective for those with a CHADS2 (congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥75 years, diabetes mellitus, prior stroke or transient ischemic attack) score of ≥2 in the presence of other comorbidities, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, held from May 9–12 in Boston.

To investigate whether comorbidity or CHADS2 score could predict the effectiveness of statin treatment on primary AF prevention, Chen-Ying Hung, MD, of the Taichung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues identified 27,002 patients with hypertension, aged ≥65 years, from the National Health Insurance Research Database released by the Taiwan National Health Research Institutes. Statin therapy was received by 8.9%of the cohort. The risk of new-onset AF was analyzed according to statin treatment.

During a nine-year follow-up, the researchers identified 2,241 patients who experienced AF. Statin users had a higher prevalence of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and chronic renal disease, and were younger than nonusers. Statin therapy was associated with a reduced risk of AF (hazard ratio [HR], 0.81; P=0.009). The benefit of statins was seen in all patients, irrespective of comorbidity. Statins had a significant effect in patients with a CHADS2 score of ≥2 (HR, 0.69; P<0.001). This benefit was not seen in patients with hypertension without other comorbidities.

“Statin therapy in elderly patients with hypertension reduces the risk of new-onset AF. Patients with CHADS2 score ≥2 get more benefits from statin use than those with score =1 (hypertension only),” the authors write.

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