Res Sq. 2023 Sep 26:rs.3.rs-3369346. doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-3369346/v1. Preprint.
Background Lifestyle modification programs, such as cardiac rehabilitation, may reduce atrial fibrillation (AF) burden and improve quality of life (QOL), but remain unproven. The objective of this pilot study was to assess feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of an exercise and nutrition-based cardiac rehabilitation-like program for AF patients. Methods We enrolled overweight adults aged ≥ 30 years with symptomatic AF in a 12-week cardiac lifestyle group program, including 6 virtual and 6 in-person visits. All visits included discussion and education about nutrition, exercise, and behavior modification. In-person visits included supervised aerobic exercise and strength training. Outcomes at baseline and 12 weeks included feasibility of participation, acceptability, change in weight and BMI, and changes in survey-based AF burden, symptoms, and QOL. Results From 84 invitees, 11 (13.1%) were enrolled (mean age 64; baseline BMI 38 kg/m 2 ); 9 (82%) completed the program. Patients attended an average of 9.7 (81%) visits (Range: 6-11). Mean weight loss was 9.1 pounds (Range: 0-16); mean BMI decrease was 1.4 kg/m 2 (Range: 0-2.6). Patients found the program helpful overall: all reported making diet and exercise changes during the program. Compared to baseline, patients reported decreased AF burden (12.9 vs. 11.7, p = 0.03) and symptom (10.1 vs. 5.6, p = 0.003) scores at the conclusion of the program. Patients also reported increased QOL overall (68.9 vs. 86.4, p = 0.001) Conclusions Participation in a cardiac rehab-like program was feasible and acceptable for overweight patients with symptomatic AF. Results suggest preliminary effectiveness of the program for reducing AF burden and symptoms and increasing QOL.