New data published in the American Heart Journal show that AstraZeneca's Atacand (candesartan cilexetil) is the first angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) to significantly reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in a wide spectrum of heart failure patients, including those with preserved as well as reduced left ventricular systolic function, when added to contemporary therapy. Incidence of AF in the heart failure population is high at 10 to 30 percent.
Atrial fibrillation is associated with a decline in cardiac function and worsening of heart failure symptoms including reduction in exercise capacity as well as deterioration in functional class. This in turn may lead to hospital admission, increased morbidity for example stroke and ultimately to death. Treatments with the potential to prevent AF in heart failure could therefore confer important clinical benefits.