Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation Treated With Catheter Ablation or Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
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Background: Catheter ablation (CA) is performed in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) to reduce symptoms and improve health-related quality of life (HRQL). Methods: This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluated CA of any energy modality compared with antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) using inverse-variance random-effects models. We searched for RCTs reporting HRQL and AF-related symptoms at 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 60 months after treatment as well as the number of repeat ablations. Results: Of 15,878 records, we included 13 RCTs of CA vs AADs for the analyses of HRQL, 7 RCTs for the analyses of AF-related symptoms, and 13 RCTs for the number of repeat ablations. For the HRQL analyses at 3 months, there were significant increases in both the Physical Component Summary score (3 months' standardized mean difference = 0.58 [0.39-0.78]; P < 0.00001, I 2 = 6%, 3 trials, n = 443) and the Mental Component Summary score (3 months' standardized mean difference = 0.57 [0.37-0.77]; P < 0.00001, I 2 = 0%, 3 trials, n = 443), favouring CA over AADs. These differences were sustained at 12 months but not >24 months after randomization. Similar results were seen for AF-related symptoms. The number of repeat ablations and success rates after procedure varied considerably across trials. Conclusions: Evidence from few trials suggests that CA improves physical and mental health and AF-related symptoms in the short term, but these benefits decrease with time. More trials, reporting both HRQL and AF-related symptoms, at consistent time points are needed to assess the effectiveness of CA for the treatment of AF.