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Angiotensin II receptor blockers and cardiovascular protection: Focus on left ventricular hypertrophy regression and atrial fibrillation prevention

Authors Cesare Cuspidi, Francesca Negri, Alberto Zanchetti

Published 8 February 2008 Volume 2008:4(1) Pages 67—73


Cesare Cuspidi1,2, Francesca Negri2, Alberto Zanchetti3

1Department of Clinical Medicine and Prevention, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy; 2Policlinico di Monza; 3Centro Interuniversitario di Fisiologia Clinica e Ipertensione, Università di Milano, and Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy

Abstract: Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and atrial fibrillation (AF) are strong predictors of cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality, independently of blood pressure levels and other modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors. The actions of circulating and tissue angiotensin II, mediated by AT1 receptors, play an important role in the development of a wide spectrum of cardiovascular alterations, including LVH, atrial enlargement and AF. Growing experimental and clinical evidence suggests that antihypertensive drugs may exert different effects on LVH regression and new onset AF in the setting of arterial hypertension. Since a number of large and adequately designed studies have found angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) to be more effective in reducing LVH than beta-blockers and data are also available showing their effectiveness in preventing new or recurrent AF, it is reasonable to consider this class of drugs among first line therapies in patients with hypertension and LVH (a very high risk phenotype predisposing to AF) and as adjunctive therapy to antiarrhythmic agents in patients undergoing pharmacological or electrical cardioversion of AF.

Keywords: angiotensin II receptor blockers, left ventricular hypertrophy, atrial fibrillation

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