Quality of life with atrial fibrillation: Do the spouses suffer as much as the patients?
Pacing Clin Electrophysiol
Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) can have a significant effect on quality of life (QoL). Other chronic diseases are known to not only affect the patient but to also impact the QoL of persons living with them. Scant data exist on the QoL effect of AF in spouses/significant others (SOs). Methods: An anonymous survey regarding the perceived effect of AF on QoL was designed and distributed to both patients and spouses/SOs during an educational symposium about living with AF. Both were asked to fill out the survey independently according to how their life was affected by either their AF or their partner's AF. Questions included demographics, perceived impairment of overall QoL on a 5-point scale, as well as effect on subcategories of QoL, namely daily activity, work life, sex life, physical activity, psychological well-being, and social activity. Results: Five hundred and sixty-eight subjects completed the survey of which 411 were AF patients and 129 were spouses/SOs. The perceived effect of AF on overall QoL (N = 527) was similar in patients and spouses (AF patients: mild 42.0%, moderate 26.0%, severe 32.0% vs. spouses: 44.1%, 25.2%, 31.7%; P = 0.917). This result did not change when adjusted for age and gender. There was also no significant difference between patients and spouses in the subcategories of QoL with the exception of the perceived effect on work life, which was greater in patients than spouses (P = 0.041). Conclusions: AF has a similar perceived impact on the QoL of spouses and patients. QoL improvement strategies for patients with AF should take spouses into account. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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School of Medicine