BACKGROUND: Increased physical capacity after comprehensive rehabilitation in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing ablation has been found in the CopenHeartRFA trial. The purpose of this study was to investigate: (a) sex differences in health status, psychological distress and quality of life, (b) sex differences in rehabilitation outcomes and (c) predictors of effect of rehabilitation. METHODS: We conducted an exploratory analysis of data from the randomized CopenHeartRFA trial, where patients treated with ablation were randomized with 1:1 to comprehensive rehabilitation consisting of a physical exercise program and psycho-educational consultations versus usual care. Sex disparities in health status were tested using Chi-square and t-tests. RESULTS: Included were: 151 men (median age 59.25 years) and 59 women (median age 62.5 years). At hospital discharge, women reported lower physical health status compared with men. Among women, significant differences were found in the 6-min walk test [rehabilitation: 496.8 meters (SD 98.5) versus 559.3meters (SD 55.5) and usual care: 521.9 meters (SD 97.8) versus 530.9 meters (SD 102.2), p = 0.01] and exercise time [rehabilitation: 387.6 s (SD 126.0) versus 463.2 s (SD 121.8) and usual care: 353.4 s (SD 145.2) versus 355.8 s (SD 154.8), p < 0.004] and among men in the sit-to-stand test. Significant differences were found in mental health outcomes among men and in quality of life scores among women. Patients with a European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) score I-II had a positive effect of rehabilitation. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that sex differences exist in self-reported health after rehabilitation in patients ablated for AF. Patients with an I-II EHRA score seem more likely to gain from the rehabilitation programme compared with those with a III-IV score.
- Sygdom, sundhedsvidenskab og sygepleje