Assessing Symptom Burden and Health-Related Quality of Life in patients living with arrhythmia and ASTA Arrhythmia-Specific questionnaire in Tachycardia and Arrhythmia
Sammanfattning: Background: Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) can be negatively affected in patients living with arrhythmias and many patients experience a pronounced symptom burden. The arrhythmia can cause both uncertainty and limitations, including interference with work, reluctance to perform and plan for leisure activities and leading to self-imposed restrictions in daily life situations. There are patients striving to find strategies to manage the arrhythmia and for some this can become the focus in their lives. Treatment options are often a choice between pharmaceuticals and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) where RFA is an option for many arrhythmia-patients to be cured. In the care of arrhythmia-patients it is of great importance to combine objective examinations with patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to achieve patient’s own experiences of treatment efficacy and arrhythmias interference in daily life situations.Aims: The overall aims of this thesis were to assess symptom burden and HRQOL in patients with arrhythmias and to develop and validate an arrhythmia-specific questionnaire, suitable for most arrhythmia-patients.Design and Methods: Studies I and II were single-centre studies including patients referred for RFA, with two different arrhythmia diagnoses. Assessments of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) concerning HRQOL were performed using two questionnaires, SF-36 and EQ-5D (I-II). Further, patients were asked some disease-specific questions (I). Study I describes assessments before the RFA treatment and Study II the follow-up assessments at three and twelve months after RFA. Patients’ scoring of HRQOL was compared to age and gender matched reference groups before and after RFA (I-II). Studies III and IV describe the development and validation of a disease-specific questionnaire ASTA (Arrhythmia-Specific questionnaire in Tachycardia and Arrhythmia) assessing symptom burden and HRQOL. Studies III and IV were multicentre studies. Patients planned for DC-conversion, AF patients seeking emergency care and those with different forms of arrhythmias referred for RFA were included.Results: Patients scored significantly lower HRQOL in seven of SF-36’s eight scales compared to the age and gender matched reference groups before RFA treatment. Frequent arrhythmia attacks had a great negative impact on HRQOL, and female gender and older age were factors contributing to worse HRQOL (I). Treatment with RFA restored the patients’ HRQOL. Most positive effects were seen at three months follow-up. One year after treatment patients and the matched reference group scored their HRQOL to a similar level, assessed with SF-36 and EQ-5D index (II). The validated ASTA questionnaire was found to have good psychometric properties. Construct validity was confirmed with sufficient levels of item-total correlations in the ASTA symptom burden scale and HRQOL scales. The dimensionality of the ASTA HRQOL scale was established with confirmatory factor analysis, supporting a physical and a mental subscale. The internal consistency, demonstrated with Cronbach’s alpha (?), was satisfactory for the ASTA symptom burden scale and the ASTA HRQOL scales, varying from ? 0.79 to ? 0.91 (III-IV).Conclusions and clinical implications: The studies in this thesis confirmed how negatively affected the arrhythmia-patients can be with a pronounced symptom burden and impaired HRQOL. Treatment with RFA was demonstrated to restore the patients HRQOL to an equal level of that of the matched reference group. PROs are important to take into consideration in the care of arrhythmia-patients, to achieve the patients’ subjective experiences of their daily life situation.To the best of our knowledge ASTA is the first arrhythmia-specific questionnaire assessing symptom burden and HRQOL, suitable for most arrhythmia forms. The newly validated ASTA questionnaire can be an important contribution to assessment of PROs in arrhythmia-patients.
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