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Neth J Med. 2005 May;63(5):170-4.

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, quality of life and neuroticism.

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Department of Cardiology, Thorax Centre, Groningen University Medical Centre, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with significant impairment of quality of life (QoL), which is to a large extent independent of objective measures of disease severity. We sought to investigate the potential role of neuroticism in the impairment of QoL in patients with paroxysmal AF.


The study group (AF group) comprised 73 patients with paroxysmal AF (mean age 55.5 +/- 113.3 years, 50 males). On average, patients had a three-year history of one symptomatic paroxysm a week lasting two hours. QoL was assessed using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36) and neuroticism was assessed using the short-scale Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ).


The degree of neuroticism in the AF patient group did not differ from the degree of neuroticism in a group of age- and sex-matched controls (mean EPQ score on neuroticism 4.1 +/- 3.0 and 3.9 +/- 3.1, respectively; p = NS). Within the AF group, multivariate regression analyses showed that QoL in the physical domain (SF-36 physical functioning, physical role function, vitality and pain subscales) was not related the degree of neuroticism. In contrast, significant inverse relations were observed between scores on the mental health and social functioning subscales and the degree of neuroticism (beta coefficients p < .05), independent of age, sex and symptoms.


Based on the present study, patients with paroxysmal AF appear to have on average a degree of neuroticism similar to age- and sex-matched controls. However, the impairment of QoL in these patients, in particular regarding social functioning and mental health, seems to be related to a relatively high degree of neuroticism, independent of age and sex.

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