Background: Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained cardiac rhythm disturbance encountered in clinical practice. Despite its high prevalence and associated hospital admissions, few studies document the actual perceived symptoms of atrial fibrillation and its relationship to health-related quality of life. Objectives: The purposes of this study were to explore the patients' symptoms of atrial fibrillation and to examine the relationship between specific symptoms and self-reported health-related quality of life in patients newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Methods: This study used a descriptive correlational and cross-sectional survey design using a face-to-face interview method. Arrhythmia-related symptoms and health-related quality of life were measured by Version 3 of the Symptom Checklists: Frequency and Severity and the Short Form-36 Health Survey of the Medical Outcomes Study questionnaire, respectively. The data collected were statistically analyzed by t tests and partial correlation analyses to examine the group differences in symptoms and the relationship between arrhythmia-related symptoms and health-related quality of life, respectively. Results: A total of 81 subjects newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation within 6 months before data collection were interviewed from two community hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio. Among 16 atrial arrhythmia-related symptoms, tiredness was the most frequently reported. Furthermore, reported symptoms were significantly different between the two groups divided only by age. Symptom frequency had a significant correlation with both physical health and mental health. Specifically, the relationships between "shortness of breath" and physical health, and "tiredness" and mental health were shown to be the strongest in each dimension of health-related quality of life. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that patients with more frequent symptoms perceived poorer physical health and mental health compared with those with less frequent symptoms. Thus, the general conception that "atrial fibrillation is asymptomatic" should be reconsidered. In clinical situations, as a health care provider caring for patients with atrial fibrillation, the assessment of the nature and severity of symptoms should be performed to promote patients' quality of life.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Heart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care|
|State||Published - May 2006|