Atrial arrhythmias and patient-reported outcomes in adults with congenital heart disease: An international study

Heart Rhythm. 2021 May;18(5):793-800. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.09.012. Epub 2020 Sep 19.


Background: Atrial arrhythmias (ie, intra-atrial reentrant tachycardia and atrial fibrillation) are a leading cause of morbidity and hospitalization in adults with congenital heart disease (CHD). Little is known about their effect on quality of life and other patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in adults with CHD.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of atrial arrhythmias on PROs in adults with CHD and explore geographic variations.

Methods: Associations between atrial arrhythmias and PROs were assessed in a cross-sectional study of adults with CHD from 15 countries spanning 5 continents. A propensity-based matching weight analysis was performed to compare quality of life, perceived health status, psychological distress, sense of coherence, and illness perception in patients with and those without atrial arrhythmias.

Results: A total of 4028 adults with CHD were enrolled, 707 (17.6%) of whom had atrial arrhythmias. After applying matching weights, patients with and those without atrial arrhythmias were comparable with regard to age (mean 40.1 vs 40.2 years), demographic variables (52.5% vs 52.2% women), and complexity of CHD (15.9% simple, 44.8% moderate, and 39.2% complex in both groups). Patients with atrial arrhythmias had significantly worse PRO scores with respect to quality of life, perceived health status, psychological distress (ie, depression), and illness perception. A summary score that combines all PRO measures was significantly lower in patients with atrial arrhythmias (-3.3%; P = .0006). Differences in PROs were consistent across geographic regions.

Conclusion: Atrial arrhythmias in adults with CHD are associated with an adverse impact on a broad range of PROs consistently across various geographic regions.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Congenital heart disease; Intra-atrial reentrant tachycardia; Patient-reported outcomes; Quality of life.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Quality of Life*