Hagens et al identified factors affecting the quality of life for patients treated for persistent atrial fibrillation. These can help to identify patients who may benefit from more aggressive management. The authors are from University Hospital Groningen, Free University Medical Center (Amsterdam), St. Antonius Hospital (Nieuwegein), University Hospital Maastricht in The Netherlands. The authors are participants in the RACE (rate control versus electrical cardioversion for persistent atrial fibrillation) study.


Patient selection: persistent atrial fibrillation


Duration of study: 24 or 36 months


Factors associated with an improvement in the quality of life:

(1) age < 69 years at baseline

(2) atrial fibrillation of short duration at baseline (< 32 days, or about 1 month)

(3) symptomatic at baseline

(4) normal sinus rhythm at baseline



• Symptoms of atrial fibrillation may include dyspnea, fatigue, and palpitations.


Factors associated with worsening in the quality of life:

(1) diabetes mellitus at baseline

(2) coronary artery disease at baseline


The authors found that the therapeutic strategy (to control rate or to control rhythm) chosen for management did not affect the eventual quality of life.


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