Effects of Ablation Versus Drug Therapy on Quality of Life by Sex in Atrial Fibrillation: Results From the CABANA Trial

CABANA Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Women with atrial fibrillation (AF) demonstrate more AF-related symptoms and worse quality of life (QOL). Whether increased use of ablation in women reduces sex-related QOL differences is unknown. Sex-related outcomes for ablation versus drug therapy was a prespecified analysis in the CABANA (Catheter Ablation Versus Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation) trial. METHODS AND RESULTS: Symptoms were assessed periodically over 60 months with the Mayo AF-Specific Symptom Inventory (MAFSI) frequency score, and QOL was assessed with the Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality of Life (AFEQT) summary and component scores. Women had lower baseline QOL scores than men (mean AFEQT scores 55.9 and 65.6, respectively). Ablation patients improved more than drug therapy patients with similar treatment effect by sex: AFEQT 12-month mean adjusted treatment difference in women 6.1 points (95% CI, 3.5–8.6) and men 4.9 points (95% CI, 3.0–6.9). Participants with baseline AFEQT summary scores <70 had greater QOL improvement, with a mean treatment difference at 12 months of 7.6 points for women (95% CI, 4.3–10.9) and 6.4 points for men (95% CI, 3.3–9.4). The mean adjusted difference in MAFSI frequency score between women randomized to ablation versus drug therapy at 12 months was −2.5 (95% CI, −3.4 to −1.6); for men, the difference was −1.3 (95% CI, −2.0 to −0.6). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with drug therapy for AF, ablation resulted in more QOL improvement in both sexes, primarily driven by improvements in those with lower baseline QOL. Ablation did not eliminate the AF-related QOL gap between women and men. REGISTRATION: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT00911508.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere027871
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 7 2023


  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • quality of life
  • sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of Ablation Versus Drug Therapy on Quality of Life by Sex in Atrial Fibrillation: Results From the CABANA Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this