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    Is endometriosis as tied to infertility as we think?


    Atrial fibrillation impacts QoL in women

    Results of a study published in JAMA draw a striking picture of the impact of atrial fibrillation (AF) in women, underscoring gender-related differences in clinical outcomes and quality of life (QoL). While AF causes more deaths in men, women with the condition suffer more strokes, symptoms, and lower QoL, suggesting a need for better treatment.

    Led by researchers from Duke University, the observational cohort included 10,135 patients with AF represented in the nationwide multicenter Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation. The individuals (58% male; 42% female) were enrolled at 176 sites between June 2010 and August 2011.

    A 20-item validated survey (Atrial Fibrillation Effects on Quality of life [AFEQT]) was used to determine whether symptoms, functional capacity, and QoL differed between men and women with AF. The authors hypothesized that symptoms, QoL, and clinical outcomes would be worse in women. They found, however, that women had lower risk-adjusted all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.49-0.67) and rates of cardiovascular death (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.56; CI, 0.44-0.72) but higher risks of stroke of non-central nervous system embolism (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.05-1.84; P=.02) compared with men.

    More: Obstetric history and CVD risk

    Looking at symptoms related to AF, the researchers found that only 32.1% of the women were asymptomatic compared with 42.5% of men (P<.001) and 40% had palpitations versus only 27% of men. Lightheadedness/dizziness and fatigue also were more common in women (both P<.001). Taking antihypertensive medication was not associated with the lightheadedness/dizziness in the women but the authors said that antiarrhythmic drugs were (P=.04).

    In terms of QoL, the women had lower scores on the survey and the differences persisted when the analysis was restricted to those aged 75 and older.

    Commenting on the findings, the authors said that the QoL scores in women with AF “may be a consequence of both physical and mental consequences of their AF.” They also encouraged use of the AFEQT tool to identify women who may need more aggressive treatment for AF. 

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    Judith M. Orvos, ELS
    Judith M. Orvos, ELS, is a a BELS-certified medical writer and editor and an editorial consultant for Contemporary OB/GYN.
    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.


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