Background: Catheter ablation is widely used as first-line therapy for patients with impaired quality of life; however, whether catheter ablation improves survival and other outcomes in atrial fibrillation (AF) cases remains unclear. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether catheter ablation reduces adverse clinical outcomes and improves patients’ quality of life using data from a contemporary Japanese multicenter registry of patients with early-stage AF. Methods: The Keio Interhospital Cardiovascular Studies-Atrial Fibrillation registered 3318 patients with AF newly diagnosed at or referred to participating hospitals between 2014 and 2018. Propensity score matching based on 47 demographic variables was performed. We extracted 823 pairs who underwent catheter ablation or medical therapy alone. The primary outcome was the composite of all-cause death, stroke, bleeding events, and heart failure hospitalization during a 2-year follow-up period. Additionally, the Atrial Fibrillation Effect on QualiΤy-of-Life scores at baseline and 1-year follow-up were evaluated. Results: Within the matched cohort, the median time since AF diagnosis was 0.3 years (interquartile range [IQR] 0.1‒2.3 years), age was 67.0 years (IQR 59.0‒73.0 years), and the CHA2DS2-VASc score was 2.0 (IQR 1.0‒2.0). During a median follow-up period of 730 days (IQR 366‒731 days), patients who underwent catheter ablation had a lower risk of primary outcomes (hazard ratio 0.49; 95% confidence interval 0.30‒0.79; P = .004), with a significantly lower risk of heart failure hospitalization (hazard ratio 0.33; 95% confidence interval 0.14–0.77; P = .010) and improved Atrial Fibrillation Effect on QualiΤy-of-Life scores, than did those who received medical therapy. Conclusion: In patients with propensity score–matched, early-stage, real-world AF, catheter ablation was associated with a lower risk of adverse clinical events and improved quality of life as compared with medical therapy.
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