Atrial fibrillation: what do we know about screening and what do we not know about treatment?


The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) among adults over the age of 20 years is estimated to be 3% with 25% of middle-aged adults expected to develop AF during their lifetime. However, undiagnosed AF is common, especially in higher risk patient populations, including the elderly and patients with concomitant cardiovascular comorbidities. For example, patients who presented with a cryptogenic stroke and no history of AF were diagnosed with AF at rates of 8.9% at 6 months and 12.4% at 12 months poststroke, when an implantable cardiac monitor was used. A screening programme in Sweden checked intermittent electrocardiograms (ECGs) over a 2-week period in the general population of people aged 75 years and found that 3% had undiagnosed AF with 0.5% being diagnosed with the first ECG.

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Pokorney SD, Lopes RD. Heart 2019;105:848–54.