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Medically reviewed by Dr. Shani S. Saks, D.O. on August 2, 2023

The short-term family-focused intervention had a non-significant positive effect on health-related quality of life and improved perceived family support, anxiety, and depression in patients and family members.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) influences the overall well-being of patients and their families. This study, published in the journal PLoS One, evaluated the outcomes of a family-focused intervention for AF patients related to AF symptoms, family support, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), depression, and anxiety.

Study Characteristics

Of the 68  Danish patients, 35 received standard care, and 33 received family-focused intervention. The mean age of the participants was 68 years. In the family-focused intervention, the patient was accompanied by a family member 85% of the intervention time. The intervention consisted of a two-hour family group session and one to three sessions of family-focused conversations with nurses. There were no reports of serious adverse events or deaths during this study.

Quality of Life Improvements in Both Groups

The median change in the Global Atrial Fibrillation Effect on the Quality of Life Questionnaire (AFEQT) score at the 6-month follow-up of the patients was 5.83 in the intervention group and 4.17 in the control group; however, the score was not significantly different across the groups.

Reduction in Anxiety and Depression Levels

Decreased levels of anxiety and depression were also recorded during at follow-up. However, this difference did not reach statistical significance (HADS-A: median change -3, CI = -5.00 –1.00; HADS-D: median change -1, CI = -5.00 – 0.00).

Improvements in European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA)  Score

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The European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) score decreased in intervention and control groups during the follow-up period.

Family-Focused Intervention and Perceived Support

Significant positive scores were observed in the Ice Family-Perceived Support Questionnaire (ICE-FPSQ) scores in all domains, favoring the family-focused intervention.

Sensitivity Analysis and Adjusted Results

A sensitivity analysis was conducted to consider the baseline values, resulting in a greater estimated disparity in the Global AFEQT score between the groups (-4.21, CI = -9.33–9.01, p = 0.910). The sole estimation that presented an alternative interpretation of the findings pertained to ICE-EFFEQ communication. Notably, this estimation revealed a non-significant disparity in the median change, with a value of -0.86 (CI = -1.80 – -0.021, p = 0.149).


Rosenstrøm, S., Risom, S. S., Kallemose, T., Dixen, U., Hove, J. D., & Brødsgaard, A. (2023). Clinical outcomes of a short-term family-focused intervention for patients with atrial fibrillation–A randomised clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 18(3), e0282639. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0282639