Objective: The desired goal of atrial fibrillation (AF) management is maintenance of sinus rhythm in order to improve quality of life (QoL) and arrhythmia symptoms (AS). Although obesity and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are known risk factors for development of AF, these remain inadequately treated. We report the impact of prospectively modifying these risk factors on QoL and AS in AF patients (pts).
Methods: AF pts with obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥30kg/m2) and/or the need for OSA management (high-risk as per Berlin Questionnaire or untreated OSA) were voluntarily enrolled in a nurse-led risk factor modification (RFM) program at their arrhythmia clinic visit. RFM entailed patient education, lifestyle modification counseling, coordination of care with appropriate specialists, and longitudinal care management. Progress with weight loss (WL) and OSA treatment was monitored via monthly follow-up calls and/or downloads from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) units for up to 12 months. QoL and AS were determined with the SF-36 and AF Severity Scale (AFSS) respectively, and were assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. Student t-test and chi-square tests were used to compare continuous and dichotomous variables.
Results: From 11/1/16 to 10/31/17, 252 pts (age 63±11 years; male=179; paroxysmal AF=126) were enrolled as follows: 189 for obesity and 93 for OSA. The mean WL was 2.7±3.8% from baseline and 78% (n=126 of 162 pts with available data) of enrolled obese patients achieved WL. Among 93 pts at risk for OSA, 70 completed sleep studies and 50 were identified with OSA. Majority of these patients (76%; n=38 of 50) started CPAP therapy and have remained full (57%; n=17 of 30 pts with available CPAP data) and partial (13%; n=4 of 30) users. Table shows that SF-36 and AFSS scores improved for most measures of QoL and AS from baseline to 6 months.
Conclusion: Participation in a risk factor modification program targeting obesity and obstructive sleep apnea can improve quality of life and arrhythmia symptoms in patients with atrial fibrillation. The impact of this strategy on long-term maintenance of sinus rhythm remains to be determined.