Background and aim: Metabolic syndrome (MS) has been recently associated with an increased risk for the development of atrial fibrillation (AF) in the general population. Whether this relation is also apparent in patients with arterial hypertension remains to be clarified. In the present study we sought to investigate the independent association of the MS with the AF in a large cohort of hypertensive patients.
Material and methods: The study comprised 15,075 consecutive, non-diabetic patients with essential hypertension (age range: 40-95 years, 51.1% males). All subjects underwent a complete clinical and lipidemic profile assessment as well as a standard 12-lead ECG at drug free baseline. MS was diagnosed by using five different definitions, including the National Cholesterol Education Program Third Adult Treatment Panel (ATPIII) and the GISSI Score.
Results: The prevalence of the MS varied from 31.7% to 47.8% according to the each time definition used. In multiple logistic regression analysis, MS was associated with the presence of AF (odds ratio from 1.61 to 1.99, p < 0.001 for all), independenty of the definition used. All ATPIII MS components were found to be independently associated with an increased incidence of AF. The prevalence of AF increased progressively with the severity of the metabolic syndrome as assessed by the number of the metabolic syndrome components (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: In non-diabetic patients with essential hypertension, the MS is directly and independently related to the AF prevalence.
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