Effect of catheter ablation vs. antiarrhythmic medication on QoL in patients with AFib

Researchers recruited 155 men and women with atrial fibrillation who were symptomatic despite antiarrhythmic drug treatment, to determine if they would respond better instead to pulmonary vein isolation. The trial was conducted at multiple sites in Sweden and Finland from July 2008–September 2017, with followup after 4 years.

Researchers recruited 155 men and women with atrial fibrillation who were symptomatic despite antiarrhythmic drug treatment, to determine if they would respond better instead to pulmonary vein isolation. The trial was conducted at multiple sites in Sweden and Finland from July 2008–September 2017, with followup after 4 years. As dictated by random assignment, 79 participants underwent pulmonary vein isolation (catheter ablation) and 76 received treatment with previously untested antiarrhythmic medications. The primary outcome was the difference in readings on the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey at baseline and at 12 months. The results favored catheter ablation, which improved the overall score by 11.9 points compared with a 3.1-gain among the antiarrhythmic medication recipients. The difference was considered both statistically and clinically important, and it suggests that catheter ablation in this setting may improve patients' quality of life.