Improvement in Atrial Fibrillation-Related Symptoms After Cardioversion: Role of NYHA Functional Class and Maintenance of Sinus Rhythm

Background

The European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) score is a proven and validated tool for assessing the symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AF). Little is known about the variables related to this score and how it changes after cardioversion.

Methods

We analyzed 744 patients undergoing elective cardioversion in whom AF-related symptoms were assessed at baseline and after 6 months of follow-up using the EHRA score. We assessed the association between the EHRA score and other clinical and echocardiographic variables at baseline and after 6 months of follow-up.

Results

At 6 months of follow-up, we observed a reduction in the EHRA score in 50% and worsening in 2.8% of patients who remained in sinus rhythm (SR) compared with 34.6% and 11.3%, respectively, of patients with AF episodes (p<0.0001). Patients who maintained SR at 6 months were less symptomatic than those with AF (EHRA score 1.13 ± 0.35 vs 1.42 ± 0.59; p<0.0001). The independent predictors for reduction in the EHRA score after cardioversion were NYHA ≥II at baseline and maintenance of SR (p<0.0001).

Conclusion

The greatest improvement in AF-related symptoms was in patients who remained in SR at 6 months after cardioversion and in patients with worse NYHA functional class at baseline.