Patient-reported outcomes for quality of life assessment in atrial fibrillation: A systematic review of measurement properties

Dipak Kotecha, Amar Ahmed, Melanie Calvert, Mauro Lencioni, Caroline B. Terwee, Deirdre A. Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Atrial fibrillation is a large and growing burden across all types of healthcare. Both incidence and prevalence are expected to double in the next 20 years, with huge impact on hospital admissions, costs and patient quality of life. Patient wellbeing determines the management strategy for atrial fibrillation, including the use of rhythm control therapy and the clinical success of heart rate control. Hence, evaluation of quality of life is an emerging and important part of the assessment of patients with atrial fibrillation. Although a number of questionnaires to assess quality of life in atrial fibrillation are available, a comprehensive overview of their measurement properties is lacking. Methods and Results: We performed a systematic review of the measurement properties of atrial fibrillation-specific health-related quality of life questionnaires. Methodological quality was assessed using the Consensus based Standards for selection of health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) checklist, with measurement properties rated for quality against optimal criteria and levels of evidence. We screened 2, 216 articles, of which eight articles describing five questionnaires were eligible for inclusion: Atrial Fibrillation 6 (AF6), Atrial Fibrillation Effect on QualiTy-of-Life (AFEQT), Atrial Fibrillation Quality of Life Questionnaire (AFQLQ), Atrial Fibrillation Quality of Life (AFQoL), and Quality of Life in Atrial Fibrillation (QLAF). Good reliability (internal consistency and test-retest reliability) was demonstrated for AF6, AFEQT, AFQLQ and AFQoL. Content, construct and criterion validity were positively rated only in AFEQT. Responsiveness was positively rated only in AFEQT, but with limited evidence. Overall, AFEQT showed strong positive evidence for 2 of 9 measurement properties, compared to one for AFQoL and none for the remaining questionnaires. Interpretation: Given the low ratings for many measurement properties, no single questionnaire can be recommended, although AFEQT performed strongest. Further studies to robustly assess reliability, validity and responsiveness of AF-specific quality of life questionnaires are required. This review consolidates the current evidence for quality of life assessment in patients with atrial fibrillation and identifies priority areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165790
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

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