Atrial Fibrillation: Study Finds Quality of Life Better After Ablation vs Medication Interview with:

Dr. Carina Blomström-Lundqvist, MDProfessor of CardiologyDepartment of CardioloyInstitution of Medical ScienceUppsala, Sweden

Dr. Blomström-Lundqvist

Dr. Carina Blomström-Lundqvist, MD
Professor of Cardiology
Department of Cardioloy
Institution of Medical Science
Uppsala, Sweden What is the background for this study?  

Response: While all previous trials comparing atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation and antiarrhythmic drugs to our best knowledge have evaluated the efficacy of these treatments in terms of atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrences (with an AF episode of 30 seconds duration as standard primary endpoint) we wanted to use quality of Life (QoL) – general health – as primary endpoint, since the indication for treatment is improving QoL.

This was important since, despite the fact that the indication for treatment is to improve (QoL) and reduce symptom, all prior trials have used 30 seconds AF episodes as standard primary endpoint, which if occurred it would be defined as a failed treatment.

We also wanted to assess effects on various clinical outcome events.

We know from registries such as ORBIT AF registry that around 60 % of AF patients have symptoms resulting in repeated hospitalisation visits in at least 30-40% of patients annually, and that only around 5 % of the AF population are being referred for AF ablation.

Previous trials have used intermittent 24 hours Holter recordings whioch does not give the true AF burden (% of time in AF). We therefore also wanted to assess and compare treatments effects on true AF burden by implanting an implantable cardiac monitor (ICM) which continuosly records the heart rhythm. We would then be able to prove that improvement in QoL was directly related to a reduction in AF burden and that treatment differences in QoL was related to a difference in reduction in AF burden.

We also wanted to study an AF population in their early AF disease state so that we could offer atrial fibrillation ablation to a broader AF population before their atria have become remodelled and too damaged for a pulmonary vein isolation to be effective. 

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