A SMART approach to reducing paroxysmal atrial fibrillation symptoms: Results from a pilot randomized controlled trial

Michelle L. Dossett, Emma W. Needles, Zachary Donahue, Gillian Gadenne, Eric A. Macklin, Jeremy N. Ruskin, John W. Denninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Stress and negative emotions contribute to atrial fibrillation (AF). Mind-body practices decrease stress and negative emotions and may reduce AF episodes and improve quality of life for patients with AF. Objective: We examined the effects of a multimodal mind-body program, the SMART Program, on AF-related quality of life in patients with paroxysmal AF (PAF). Methods: In this randomized, waitlist-controlled pilot trial, 18 subjects with PAF participated in an 8-week SMART Program delivered online immediately or 3 months later. Validated measures were completed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months (waitlist group only). Results: Comparing pre- vs post-program scores among all 18 participants, subjects reported improvement in AF-related quality of life (Cohen's d = 0.75, P = .005) and depression (d = 0.50, P = .05) but not anxiety (d = 0.35, P = .16). Subjects also reported improvements in AF symptom severity (P = .026), distress (P = .014), positive affect (P = .003), and ability to cope with stress (P = .001). Compared to waitlist control subjects, those in the immediate group reported improvement in positive affect (d = 1.20, P = .021) and coping with stress (d = 1.36, P = .011) after participating in the program. Conclusion: The SMART Program, delivered virtually, may enhance positive emotions and coping with stress as well as decrease negative emotions and AF symptoms. These results warrant a larger trial to better understand the potential benefits of such programs for patients with PAF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-332
Number of pages7
JournalHeart Rhythm O2
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Meditation
  • Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
  • Psychological resilience
  • Psychological stress
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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