To identify the most frequently used atrial fibrillation-specific quality of life (QoL) instruments across atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation studies and to perform a systematic review of the most frequently used instrument’s measurement properties. This study uses quality of life instruments as an overarching term for any patient reported outcome measure that assesses a person’s health related well-being, functional status, and disease related symptoms.
A literature mapping exercise was undergone to identify the most frequently used AF-specific QoL instruments across AF ablation studies published from 2016 to 2021. A systematic review of the most frequently used AF QoL instruments identified from the mapping exercise was performed using the COSMIN guidelines for systematic reviews of patient-reported outcome measurements. A systematic search was conducted in Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid PsycINFO, EBSCO CINAHL, and Cochrane CENTRAL. The search used variations of the keywords “atrial fibrillation”, “quality of life”, and “catheter ablation”.
Forty-five instruments were identified via the literature mapping exercise. After excluding non-patient reported outcome instruments, non-AF specific instruments, and instruments appearing only once, six instruments were identified: AF Effect on QualiTy-of-Life (AFEQT), AF Severity Scale, Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Instrument, AF Quality of Life Instrument, Arrhythmia Specific instrument in Tachycardia and Arrhythmia (ASTA), and SCL (Arrhythmia Symptom Checklist, Frequency and Severity). A systematic review of these six AF-specific health related QoL instruments was performed. We screened 3221 articles and 17 studies were eligible for inclusion. Using the COSMIN guidelines, ASTA and AFEQT had the best ratings across measurement properties with both instruments having good ratings for instrument development and internal consistency. However, none of the 17 included articles assessed measurement error and cross-cultural validity.
AFEQT and ASTA had the strongest measurement properties but not all measurement properties were assessed. Considering the large number of indeterminate and insufficient ratings, future research should focus on cross-cultural validation, measurement error, responsiveness, and interpretability. This review summarizes the current evidence for AF QoL instruments across AF ablation studies and outlines areas for future research.