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Controlled Level and Variability of Systolic Blood Pressure on the Risk of Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation and Hypertension

      Hypertension is an independent risk factor for thromboembolic events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). However, the association between blood pressure (BP) control and thromboembolic events remains under-evaluated in patients with AF. We aimed to identify the relation between BP control and the risk of ischemic stroke and systemic embolism in hypertensive patients with AF. Data on 13,712 consecutive patients with AF (9,505 with and 4,207 without hypertension) were retrospectively analyzed. The hypertensive group was divided into quartiles according to the initial BP, linearly interpolated mean BP, variability independent of the mean of the BP, and time in therapeutic range (<130 mm Hg for systolic BP [SBP] and <80 mm Hg for diastolic BP) during follow-up. The primary outcome was ischemic stroke and systemic embolism. The mean follow-up duration of the study population was median 2.7 years (interquartile range 1.1 to 4.9 years), and the median number of BP measurements was 14 (interquartile range 6 to 25) times. Strictly controlled initial and interpolated mean BP and low variability in controlled BP (variability independent of the mean) were associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke and systemic embolism for both SBP and diastolic BP. A similar risk was observed in patients with strictly controlled SBP (time in therapeutic range under 130 mm Hg >94%) and those without hypertension. In conclusion, continuous and strict maintenance of SBP under 130 mm Hg with low variability at outpatient clinic follow-up reduces the risk of ischemic stroke and systemic embolism in patients with hypertension and AF.
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