News | December 05, 2011

Obesity Predicts Higher Quality Of Life Following AF Catheter Ablation

December 5, 2011 – New study shows significant increase in quality of life (QoL) among overweight patients following ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF), compared to patients with a lower body mass index (BMI) where no substantial improvement was observed.  The study, published in the December edition of HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, reveals an association between BMI and a change in QoL between the pre- and postablation periods in a large AF patient cohort.  The study also verifies comparable procedural success rates of ablation in both overweight and lean patients. 

This study, co-led by Sanghamitra Mohanty, M.D., and Andrea Natale, M.D., at St. David’s Medical Center (SDMC) in Austin, Texas, is the first to use four different assessment tools* to measure QoL in AF patients undergoing catheter ablation, and examined the association between BMI and improvement in QoL scores following ablation in 660 patients.  Patients were categorized into two groups: lean or normal with a normal-BMI (BMI < 25) and overweight or obese with a high-BMI (BMI ? 25), 79 percent of patients had a high-BMI.  Patients were asked to participate in self-administered QoL surveys before and 12 months after the catheter ablation procedure.

While high-BMI patients started with a lower baseline QoL score compared to normal-BMI patients, 12-month postablation QoL scores among the high-BMI group improved significantly in all measures except physical functioning and bodily pain.  Specifically, improvement was observed in role limitations due to physical health (27 percent), role limitations due to emotional problem (22.6 percent) and vitality (21.9 percent).  The high-BMI group also reported reductions in anxiety and depression levels after ablation procedures.  Overall, long-term ablation success was the same in both the normal-BMI group (69 percent) and high-BMI group (63 percent).

“Despite reporting improvement in QoL and comparable procedure-success in obese and overweight patients, this study does not attempt to trivialize the importance of interventions to promote weight loss and adaptation of healthy life style,” said co-lead author Mohanty at SDMC, Austin, Texas. “Obesity still remains a potential risk-factor for AF and many other cardio-vascular diseases and active measures should be taken to reverse this potentially modifiable risk factor.”

*Quality of Life Assessment tools used in the study include, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).

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