Research topic: Atrial Fibrillation happens when someone’s heart “quivers” or “skips a beat.” These irregular heartbeats can lead to blood clots, strokes, and heart failure.
In some patients, AFib appears or intensifies as a result of a trigger, such as caffeine, stress, or alcohol.
Research study: In 2019, researchers at University of California San Francisco launched a research trial to compare the effectiveness of N-of-1 trials versus “symptom surveillance” to reduce the frequency and severity of patients’ AFib.
This ongoing study aims to determine whether the N-of-1 study improves quality of life compared to symptom surveillance and whether N-of-1 approach helps participants identify the most important trigger for their AFib.
In the N-of-1 part of the study, researchers used input from AFib patients to design a mobile app that included drop-down menu of a range of potential triggers. Patients then used the app to select the triggers they wanted to monitor.
Over a six week period, patients were randomly assigned to weeks with and without exposure to their specific trigger. During this time, they also collected data on their symptoms as well as other common outcomes such mood and sleep quality.
At the end of each trial, patients could review visual charts mapping changes in their AFib symptoms along with exposure to their trigger. They were then encouraged to make any lifestyle changes they wanted to make, while continuing to collect their symptoms using the app. Results will be coming shortly.