The Impact of Duration of Atrial Fibrillation Recurrences on Measures of Health-Related Quality of Life and Symptoms

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Background:Little is known about the relationship between daily atrial fibrillation (AF) burden and quality of life (QOL). We sought to determine the influence of atrial tachycardia (AT) or AF burden on measures of QOL and symptoms.Methods and Results:We retrospectively analyzed patients with dual-chamber pacemakers from the Atrial Septal Pacing Efficacy Clinical Trial (ASPECT), Atrial Therapy Efficacy and Safety Trial (ATTEST), and aTRial arrhythmias dEtected by implaNted Device diagnostics Study (TRENDS) trials. All patients underwent at least one QOL evaluation. We predefined four AF burden groups: no AT/AF (group 1), ≤30 minutes (group 2), 30 minutes–2 hours (group 3), and >2 hours (group 4) per day. We compared QOL measures using the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12; standard 4 week recall) and the AF Symptom Checklist (SC) severity and frequency between groups 2–4 to those in group 1. A total of 798 patients were analyzed (age 72 ± 11 years, 447 male [56%]). SC frequency and severity and SF-12 physical and mental scores worsened significantly when patients in group 4 were compared to patients with no AF. There were no statistically significant differences for any of the measures when comparing group 2 or 3 patients to group 1. By linear regression, only the 2-hour-cutoff had a significant impact on QOL as measured by SC frequency (+3.15, P < 0.001), severity (+3.23, P < 0.001), SF-12 physical score (−2.42, P = 0.013), and SF-12 mental score (−2.11, P = 0.021).Conclusion:A daily AT/AF burden of more than 2 hours had significant impact on QOL. This might influence the choice of appropriate cut-off points to determine the success of an AF treatment.

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