Objectives: This study sought to investigate gender-related differences in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) in Europe.
Background: Gender-related differences may play a significant role in AF.
Methods: We analyzed the data of 5,333 patients (42% female) enrolled in the Euro Heart Survey on Atrial Fibrillation.
Results: Compared with men, the women were older, had a lower quality of life (QoL), had more comorbidities, more often had heart failure (HF) with preserved left ventricular systolic function (18% vs. 7%, p < 0.001), and less often had HF with systolic dysfunction (17% vs. 26%, p < 0.001). Among patients with typical AF symptoms (56% of women, 49% of men), there was no gender-related difference in the choice of rate or rhythm control. Among patients with atypical or no symptoms (44% of women, 51% of men), women less frequently underwent rhythm control (39% vs. 51%, p < 0.001) than did men. Women underwent less electrical cardioversion (22% vs. 28%, p < 0.001). Prescription of oral anticoagulants was identical (65%) in both genders. One-year outcome was similar except that women had a higher chance for stroke (odds ratio 1.83 in multivariable regression analysis, p = 0.019).
Conclusions: Women with AF had more comorbidities, more HF with preserved systolic function, and a lower QoL than men. In the large group with atypical or no symptoms, women were treated appropriately more conservatively with less rhythm control than men. Women had a higher chance for stroke. Long-term QoL changes and other morbidities and mortality were similar.