The role of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) in many cardiovascular disorders, including hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, and atherosclerosis, is well established, whereas its relationship with cardiac arrhythmias is a new area of investigation. Atrial fibrillation and malignant ventricular tachyarrhythmias, especially in the setting of cardiac hypertrophy or failure, seem to be examples of RAAS-related arrhythmias because treatment with RAAS modulators, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and mineralocorticoid receptor blockers, reduces the incidence of these arrhythmias. RAAS has a multitude of electrophysiological effects and can potentially cause arrhythmia through a variety of mechanisms. We review new experimental results that suggest that RAAS has proarrhythmic effects on membrane and sarcoplasmic reticulum ion channels and that increased oxidative stress is likely contributing to the increased arrhythmic incidence. A summary of ongoing clinical trials that will address the clinical usefulness of RAAS modulators for prevention or treatment of arrhythmias is presented.
- Angiotensin receptor blocker
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor
- Atrial fibrillation
- Gap junction
- Mineralocorticoid receptor blocker
- Oxidative stress
- Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system