Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with high recurrence rates and poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL) but few effective interventions to improve HRQOL exist.
The aim of this study was to examine the impact of the “iPhone Helping Evaluate Atrial Fibrillation Rhythm through Technology” (iHEART) intervention on HRQOL in patients with AF.
We randomized English- and Spanish-speaking adult patients with AF to receive either the iHEART intervention or usual care for 6 months. The iHEART intervention used smartphone-based electrocardiogram monitoring and motivational text messages. Three instruments were used to measure HRQOL: the Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality of Life (AFEQT), the 36-item Short-Form Health survey, and the EuroQol-5D. We used linear mixed models to compare the effect of the iHEART intervention on HRQOL, quality-adjusted life-years, and AF symptom severity.
A total of 238 participants were randomized to the iHEART intervention (n = 115) or usual care (n = 123). Of the participants, 77% were men and 76% were white. More than half (55%) had an AF recurrence. Both arms had improved scores from baseline to follow-up for AFEQT and AF symptom severity scores. The global AFEQT score improved 18.5 and 11.2 points in the intervention and control arms, respectively (P < .05). There were no statistically significant differences in HRQOL, quality-adjusted life-years, or AF symptom severity between groups.
We found clinically meaningful improvements in AF-specific HRQOL and AF symptom severity for both groups. Additional research with longer follow-up should examine the influence of smartphone-based interventions for AF management on HRQOL and address the unique needs of patients diagnosed with different subtypes of AF.