Background: The main purpose of performing radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) in atrial fibrillation (AF) patients is to improve the quality of life (QoL) and alleviate AF-related symptoms. We aimed to determine the qualitative and quantitative effects of RFCA on the QoL in AF patients. Methods: We performed a systemic review and meta-analysis using a random effects model. We searched for the studies that reported the physical component summary score (PCS) and mental component summary score (MCS) of the short form-36, a validated system to assess and quantify the QoL, before and after RFCA in AF patients. PCS and MCS are T-scores with a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10. Results: Of the 470 studies identified through systematic search, we included 13 studies for pre-RFCA vs. the post-RFCA analysis and 5 studies for treatment success vs. AF recurrence analyses. In the pre-RFCA vs. post-RFCA analysis, RFCA was associated with a significant increase in both the PCS (weighted mean difference [WMD] = 6.33 [4.81-7.84]; p < 0.001) and MCS (WMD = 7.80 [6.15-9.44]; p < 0.001). The ΔPCS (post-RFCA PCS-pre-RFCA PCS) and ΔMCS values were used for the treatment success vs. AF recurrence analysis. Patients with successful ablation had a higher ΔPCS (WMD = 7.46 [4.44-10.49]; p < 0.001) and ΔMCS (WMD = 7.59 [4.94-10.24]; p < 0.001). Conclusions: RFCA is associated with a significant increase in the PCS and MCS in AF patients. Patients without AF recurrence after RFCA had a better improvement in the PCS and MCS than patients who had AF recurrence.
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