Assessment of Sex Differences in the Initial Symptom Burden, Applied Treatment Strategy, and Quality of Life in Japanese Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Nobuhiro Ikemura, Shun Kohsaka, Takehiro Kimura, Ikuko Ueda, Yoshinori Katsumata, Takahiko Nishiyama, Yoshiyasu Aizawa, Kojiro Tanimoto, Yukihiko Momiyama, Makoto Akaishi, Hideo Mitamura, Keiichi Fukuda, John A. Spertus, Seiji Takatsuki

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Importance: The clinical characteristics and outcomes of women and men with atrial fibrillation (AF) are reported to be different. However, whether sex-related differences extend to patients' symptom burden and perceived quality of life (QOL) or the management pattern of AF has been rarely studied, particularly in Asian countries. Objective: To assess the differences in symptoms, treatment, and QOL between Japanese female and male patients with AF. Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective cohort study using data from the multicenter outpatient registry Keio Interhospital Cardiovascular Studies-Atrial Fibrillation (KiCS-AF), which collects information regarding health status and the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed or referred AF. One-year follow-up data were available for 1534 patients at 11 referral centers in the Tokyo, Japan, area who were enrolled between September 2012 and December 2015. All data available up to the 1-year follow-up examination through July 31, 2017, were included. Main Outcomes and Measures: Sex, symptoms, AF treatment, and QOL as determined by Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality of Life (AFEQT) questionnaires at their initial visit and 1 year later. Results: Of 1534 patients, 1076 (70.1%) were men. Compared with men, women were more likely to be older (median age, 73 years [interquartile range {IQR}, 65-78 years] vs 65 years [IQR, 57-73 years], P <.001) and have higher median brain-type natriuretic peptide levels (102.8 pg/mL [IQR, 47.3-235.5 pg/mL] vs 74.1 pg/mL [IQR, 28.5-150.5 pg/mL], P <.001). Women also had lower median AFEQT overall summary scores than men (75 [IQR, 61-85] vs 80 [IQR, 69-90]; P <.001) but similar treatment satisfaction at baseline. During follow-up, women were less likely to be treated with a rhythm control strategy (48.1% [n = 214] vs 58.0% [n = 621], P <.001), including catheter ablation of AF (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.62-0.95]; P =.02). At 1-year follow-up, women and men had improved QOL scores, regardless of their baseline characteristics (eg, age or brain-type natriuretic peptide levels) or treatment strategies, yet the sex gap persisted and grew (adjusted change in AFEQT overall summary score during 12 months, 5.89 [95% CI, 2.24-9.54] in women vs 8.94 [95% CI, 5.59-12.30] in men; P =.02). Conclusions and Relevance: In contemporary Japanese clinical practice among unselected patients with AF, women were initially seen with greater QOL impairment, and the sex gap grew 1 year after presentation. The present study underscores the need for focused efforts to better understand and close this observed sex gap over the initial year of treatment for patients with AF.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere191145
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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