DOI: 10.1111/jce.16192 ISSN: 1045-3873

Assessing the impact of atrial fibrillation on symptoms and quality of life in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Ethan J. Rowin, Mark Wadid, Martin S. Maron, Maggie White, Bruce G. Hook, Paul Harnish, Jonathan S. Silver, Matthew R. Reynolds, Barry J. Maron
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine



In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), atrial fibrillation (AF) has historically been regarded to have a deleterious impact on clinical course, strongly associated with progressive heart failure (HF) symptoms. However, there is a paucity of information regarding the impact of AF on HCM employing validated quality of life (QoL) surveys. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of AF on QoL utilizing patient reported outcome measures (PROMs).


218 consecutive HCM patients with or without AF at the Lahey HCM center in 2022 completed PROMs at their most recent visit evaluating HF (Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire [KCCQ]) and AF symptoms (AF Effect on QoL [AFEQT]).


Among the 218 patients, 50 (23%) had a history of AF and comprise the primary study cohort. AF was diagnosed at 55 ± 10 years of age, median of 5.5 years before PROM, with 66% of patients treated with a rhythm control strategy with antiarrhythmic drug and/or AF ablation. AFEQT indicated that 52% of patients experienced no or minimal AF‐related disability, mild to moderate in 22%, and severe in 26%. There was no substantial difference in HCM phenotype in patients with no or minimal AF disability compared to those with severe disability.

HF symptoms for most HCM patients with prior AF history was consistent with no or minimal (59%) or only mild (27%) disability as measured by KCCQ overall summary scores. In addition, with multivariate analysis, AF history was associated with less HF symptoms and improved QoL (OR 0.4, p = 0.02).


In contrast to prior perceptions, HCM patients with prior AF history were less likely to incur HF symptoms impairing QoL compared to HCM patients without AF. After treatment, prior history of AF did not substantially impact current QoL. These data provide a realistic appraisal for the impact that AF has on HCM patients and also offers a measure of reassurance for this patient subgroup.

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