Health-related quality of life in patients with atrial fibrillation: The role of symptoms, comorbidities, and the type of atrial fibrillation

PLoS One. 2019 Dec 23;14(12):e0226730. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226730. eCollection 2019.


Aims: This study aimed to analyse health related quality of life (HRQoL) for patients with different atrial fibrillation (AF) types and to identify patient characteristics, symptoms and comorbidities that influence HRQoL.

Methods: We used baseline data from the Swiss Atrial Fibrillation (Swiss-AF) study, a prospective multicentre observational cohort study conducted in 13 clinical centres in Switzerland. Between April 2014 and August 2017, 2415 AF patients were recruited. Patients were included in this analysis if they had baseline HRQoL data as assessed with EQ-5D-based utilities and visual analogue scale (VAS) scores. Patient characteristics and HRQoL were described stratified by AF type. The impact of symptoms, comorbidities and socio-economic factors on HRQoL was analysed using multivariable regression analysis.

Results: Based on 2412 patients with available baseline HRQoL data, the lowest unadjusted mean HRQoL was found in patients with permanent AF regardless of whether measured with utilities (paroxysmal: 0.83, persistent: 0.84, permanent: 0.80, p<0.001) or VAS score (paroxysmal: 73.6, persistent: 72.8, permanent: 69.2, p<0.001). In multivariable analysis of utilities and VAS scores, higher European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) score, recurrent falls and several comorbidities showed a strong negative impact on HRQoL while AF type was no longer associated with HRQoL.

Conclusions: Multiple factors turned out to influence HRQoL in AF patients. After controlling for several comorbidities, the EHRA score was one of the strongest predictors independent of AF type. The results may be valuable for better patient assessment and provide a reference point for further QoL and health economic analyses in AF populations.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Switzerland / epidemiology

Grant support

The Swiss-AF cohort study is supported by grants of the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant numbers 33CS30_148474 (SO, LB, JB, NR, MK, CS, TS) and 33CS30_177520 (SO, MS, LB, JB, NR, CS, MK, RK)). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.