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Emergency Department Management of Atrial Fibrillation and Flutter and Patient Quality of Life at One Month Postvisit

We identify characteristics of patients with atrial fibrillation or flutter associated with favorable assessments of emergency department (ED) effectiveness and 30-day quality of life. As part of a prospective observational study of ED management and short-term outcomes of patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation or flutter, we adapted a disease-specific quality-of-life instrument. By telephone, we administered the Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality-of-life survey to patients 30 days after an ED visit in which they were treated for newly diagnosed or recent-onset atrial fibrillation or flutter and discharged home. We also asked respondents to rate the effectiveness of ED treatment. Using data prospectively collected in the ED and extracted from electronic health records, we recorded rhythm management (cardioversion attempts and type) and patient and ED treatment characteristics. Using multivariable regression, we examined the association between these characteristics and patient-reported effectiveness of ED treatment (“very effective” or not) and any atrial fibrillation or flutter quality-of-life effect. Six hundred fifty-two eligible ED patients (response rate 89%) treated between May 2011 and November 2012 completed follow-up. Of these patients, 454 (69.6%) reported that their ED treatment was “very effective” and 113 (17.3%) reported no quality-of-life influence. In multivariable analyses, there was an association between ED electrocardioversion and perceived ED effectiveness (P<.05) but none between treatment strategy and 30-day atrial fibrillation or flutter quality-of-life score. Respondents who were younger, women, and had worse pre-ED self-reported health (P<.05) were more likely to report a quality-of-life effect. In this observational study, ED rhythm management strategy was associated with greater perceived effectiveness of the ED visit but not with a difference in 30-day quality-of-life score.

Authors: Ballard DW; Reed ME; Singh N; Rauchwerger AS; Hamity CA; Warton EM; Chettipally UK; Mark DG; Vinson DR; KP Crest Network Investigators

Ann Emerg Med. 2015 Dec;66(6):646-654.e2. Epub 2015-05-29.

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