Skip to main content

Higher BP Variability Affects AFib Risk

February 12, 2020

Higher blood pressure (BP) variability modestly increases the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), new research shows.

The determination comes after the authors of a new study found that—among their study cohort—patients with the highest systolic and diastolic BP variability had a 7.6% higher risk of AF than patients with the lowest BP variability.

To evaluate the association between visit-to-visit BP variability and incident AF, the researchers used data from Korea’s Health Screening Cohort, which included a complete set of medical claims and biannual health checkup information of the country’s population.

After patients with preexisting AF were excluded, data on 8,063,922 individuals who had had at least 3 health checkups with BP measurement between 2004 and 2010 were analyzed.

BP variability was defined as “variability independence of the mean” and was characterized into 4 quartiles. 

During a mean follow-up of 6.8 years, 140,086 patients received a diagnosis of AF. 

The highest BP variability (fourth quartile) was associated with an increased risk of AF compared with the lowest BP variability (first quartile). The association was consistent regardless of whether patients had prevalent hypertension. 

High-risk patients who were aged 65 years or older or who had diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease experienced a stronger impact of high BP variability on AF development, according to results of a subgroup analysis. 

—Colleen Murphy


Lee SR, Choi YJ, Choi EK, et al. Blood pressure variability and incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation: a nationwide population-based study. Hypertension. 2020;72(2):309-315.

Back to Top