Hypertension is increasingly considered a strong and independent risk factor for supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias. The presence and complexity of both supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias influence morbidity, mortality, as well as the quality of life of patients. Diastolic dysfunction of the left ventricle, left atrial size and function, and left ventricular hypertrophy have been suggested as the foremost underlying risk factors for supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias in hypertensive patients. In particular, the presence of hypertension is a risk for sudden death and this risk is higher in those with left ventricular hypertrophy. Moreover, arrhythmias in the hypertrophic heart are often facilitated and aggravated by electrolyte disturbances, sympatho-vagal unbalance, transient blood pressure peaks, and occurrence of myocardial ischaemia.
Several noninvasive biohumoral, electrocardiographic and imaging parameters have been widely investigated to identify hypertensive patients at higher risk for the development of arrhythmias. These parameters include neurohormones, signal averaged analysis of P wave, QT interval dispersion, heart rate variability, ventricular late potentials and T wave morphology analysis, as well as echocardiographic and magnetic resonance indexes of atrial and ventricular shape and function. The aim of this review is to evaluate the relationship of high blood pressure with ventricular and supraventricular arrhythmias, to discuss the available biomarkers for arrhythmic risk assessment in hypertensive patients and the effects of a tailored tight blood pressure control on the occurrence of arrhythmias.
Keywords: Hypertension, ventricular hypertrophy, arrhythmia, tachycardia, sudden death, atrial fibrillation, refractoriness, fibrosis, myocardial ischaemia, Echocardiography
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