Quality of life in patients with atrial fibrillation: a systematic review

Am J Med. 2006 May;119(5):448.e1-19. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.10.057.


The impact of atrial fibrillation (AF) on patients' quality of life (QoL) has yet to be fully elucidated in a systematic manner. This article examines QoL in "general" patients with AF as well as the effects that rate and/or rhythm-control interventions have on QoL. Patients with AF have significantly poorer QoL compared with healthy controls, the general population, and other patients with coronary heart disease. Studies examining rate or rhythm-control strategies alone demonstrate improved QoL after intervention. Three of the four large randomized control trials (STAF, PIAF, RACE) comparing rate versus rhythm control demonstrated a greater improvement in QoL in patients receiving rate control. However, the AFFIRM trial revealed a similar improvement in QoL for both rate and rhythm-control groups. The data, although frequently compromised by various methodologic weaknesses, suggest that patients with AF have impaired QoL, and that QoL can be significantly improved through rate or rhythm-control strategies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents