Volume 82 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 652-658
Background:Rate control is now a front-line therapy in the management of atrial fibrillation (AF). However, the survival benefits of different rate-control medications remain controversial, so we assessed the efficacy of rate-control medications in AF patients with concomitant heart failure (HF).
Methods and Results:From January 2002 to December 2008, a total of 7,034 AF patients with a single type of rate-control drug or without rate-control treatment were enrolled from the Korea National Health Insurance Service database. The death rates over a mean follow-up of 4.5±1.2 years were 12.6% (580 of 4,593) and 29.0% (709 of 2,441) in non-HF and HF patients, respectively. Among the total subjects, the risk of death was lower in patients receiving β-blockers (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.64–0.88) and calcium-channel blockers (adjusted HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.55–0.98) compared with those who did not receive rate-control medications. In patients without HF, use of rate-control medications did not affect the risk of death. In patients with HF, β-blockers significantly decreased the mortality risk (adjusted HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.50–0.79), whereas use of calcium-channel blockers or digoxin was not associated with death. The results were observed consistently among the cohorts after propensity matching.
Conclusions:Use of β-blockers was associated with a reduced mortality rate for AF patient with HF but not for those without HF. These findings should be examined in a large randomized trial.