Influence of Age, Sex and Episode Recurrence on Quality of Life in Atrial Fibrillation

  • M. R. Reynolds
  • A. S. Fein
Reference work entry


While some patients with atrial fibrillation ( AF), the most common cardiac rhythm abnormality, have no symptoms, most experience significant symptoms, functional limitations, and diminished quality of life. The formal assessment of quality of life has proved difficult in AF research studies, with a great variety of different approaches pursued in the literature. Recently, most AF studies have used generic quality of life (QOL) surveys such as the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form health survey ( SF-36) or EuroQOL, with or without additional “disease specific” symptom scales. Multiple clinical trials and population studies have revealed reduced QOL in AF patients compared with age-matched norms. However, AF patients often have multiple other health problems, which obviously influence QOL scores, particularly on generic measures. Patient demographics also strongly affect QOL scores in AF patients, with women consistently reporting worse QOL than men, and older patients generally reporting less prominent AF symptoms than younger patients. Available data do not indicate that a pharmacologic  rhythm control strategy for AF results in better QOL outcomes than a  rate control strategy. However, patients in whom the rhythm control strategy succeeds do appear to enjoy better QOL than patients with AF recurrence. For highly symptomatic patients who fail drugs,  catheter ablation has been shown to improve rhythm control, with large associated gains in QOL measures.


Atrial Fibrillation Catheter Ablation Atrial Fibrillation Patient Symptom Burden Atrial Fibrillation Ablation 
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List of Abbreviations:


Atrial Fibrillation


Atrial Fibrillation Follow-Up Investigation of Rhythm Management


Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Versus Anti-Arrhythmic Drugs Study


Canadian Trial of Atrial Fibrillation


The European Quality of Life Scale


Fibrillation Registry Assessing Costs, Therapies, Adverse Events and Lifestyle


New York Heart Association Class


Pharmacological Intervention in Atrial Fibrillation


Quality of Life


Rate Control Versus Electrical Cardioversion for Persistent Atrial Fibrillation Trial


Sotalol Amiodarone Atrial Fibrillation Efficacy Trial

SF-36 (SF-12) with PCS and MCS

Medical Outcomes Study 36-item (12-item) Short Form Health Survey with Physical Component Summary or Mental Component Summary


United States


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. Reynolds
  • A. S. Fein

There are no affiliations available

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