A cross-sectional study of quality of life in an elderly population (75 years and over) with atrial fibrillation: secondary analysis of data from the Birmingham Atrial Fibrillation Treatment of the Aged study

Europace. 2012 Oct;14(10):1420-7. doi: 10.1093/europace/eus102. Epub 2012 May 10.


Aims: To compare the quality of life (QoL) of those in atrial fibrillation (AF) aged 75 years and over with that of the general population, to explore what factors affect the QoL of those with AF, and to assess the sensitivity of the EuroQol (EQ-5D) and Short-Form 12 (SF-12) generic health questionnaires in detecting differences in health status in those with AF in this age group.

Methods and results: The study population was 1762 men and women aged 75 years and over with confirmed AF who attended a randomization clinic for the Birmingham Atrial Fibrillation Treatment of the Aged (BAFTA) study, a primary care based trial of stroke prevention. Patients self-completed the EQ-5D and SF-12 questionnaires, and a simple measure of disability (Rankin). Cardiovascular co-morbidities were collected and number of drugs used as an additional proxy for co-morbidity. Quality-of-life outcomes were compared with general population samples of the same age. On multiple regression, female gender, greater medication use, and disability were independently associated with lower QoL scores in AF. Those in AF with a Rankin score ≥2 had lower QoL scores, while those with a Rankin score <2 had higher scores than the general population. Increasing co-morbidity was associated with reduced QoL scores, with the EQ-5D and SF-12 Physical Component Score showing similar sensitivity to these associations, and the SF-12 Mental Component Score showing less sensitivity.

Conclusion: In the absence of co-morbidity, chronic AF has little impact on generic QoL in an elderly non-acutely ill population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polypharmacy
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents