Background: Rhythm-control strategy, including catheter ablation (CA) application, constitutes an integral part of atrial fibrillation (AF) management. However, elderly patients are underrepresented in clinical trials, and reports on patient-reported outcome of various rhythm-control treatments remain limited. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the application of a rhythm-control strategy for elderly patients with AF. Methods: Using a prospective, multicenter Japanese registry, we analyzed 733 patients with AF aged ≥70 years who completed the Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality-of-Life (AFEQT) questionnaire at baseline and 1-year visit. Improvement in patient-reported quality-of-life (QOL) was assessed according to their initial treatment strategy. Results: A total of 321 patients (43.8%) were managed with rhythm-control strategy, of which 125 (17.1%) received treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) alone and 196 (26.7%) underwent CA. Compared with the rate-control group, the rhythm-control group was younger and less likely to have comorbid conditions but had lower baseline AFEQT-overall summary (OS) scores (71.8 [standard deviation 20.3] vs. 80.0 [standard deviation 16.1]; P < .001). After the first year, AFEQT-OS scores improved regardless of treatment strategies (ie, rate- or rhythm-control). After adjusting for confounders, CA implementation and a lower baseline AFEQT score were associated with meaningful improvement in QOL (changes in AFEQT-OS score ≥5). QOL improvement among subgroups of rhythm-control patients with AADs alone was not clinically meaningful. Conclusions: In contemporary Japanese clinical practice, rhythm-control strategy is widely implemented in elderly patients with AF, and CA use is associated with improvement in QOL in carefully selected patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine