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Catheter ablation boosts QoL, exercise tolerance among patients with persistent AF

25 Apr 2020

Catheter ablation improves exercise tolerance and quality of life (QoL) among patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (per-AF), a recent study has found.

Fifty-three per-AF patients (mean age, 65.6±8.7 years; 77 percent male) who underwent catheter ablation were enrolled. QoL was set as the primary endpoint of the study and was assessed using an original tool, along with functional evaluation, at 3 months after the procedure. A symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise test was administered at baseline and at 3 months after ablation.

Overall, QoL increased significantly from 5.48±1.14 at baseline to 5.64±1.06 after 3 months (p=0.010). This was driven mainly by a statistical increase in scores in those who reported symptom improvements in daily life (5.32±0.94 to 5.7±0.94; p=0.010). The change in QoL scores was null in participants who reported no such improvements.

Notably, all measures in the cardiopulmonary exercise test improved significantly after ablation. At the 3-month follow-up, peak work rate increased from 84.6±24.3 to 96.2±24.0 watts (p<0.001). The same was true for anaerobic threshold (13.1±3.0 to 15.1±3.3 mL/kg/min; p<0.001) and peak oxygen consumption (19.1±4.6 to 22.5±5.0 mL/kg/min; p<0.001).

The maximum heart rate, on the other hand, dropped from 156.6±26.0 to 126.9±20.8 beats per minute (p<0.001). These effects were sustained and remained significant even in the subgroups of patients with and without daily symptom improvements.

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