Screening for unknown or subclinical atrial fibrillation has received increased attention lately. People at 65 years, or above, with additional risk factors, have been suggested as a possible target population for screening.
Screening in this age group has been investigated as a sub-study of the ACE 1950 Study. Afib.no network member Trygve Berge, and several co-authors from the network, have now published the results of this study in Europace.
A total of 1510 men and women aged 65 years, with hypertension, diabetes or other risk factors for stroke, were screened by 2-week intermittent ECGs. Undiagnosed AF was identified in 0.9%. The total prevalence, including previously known and validated AF, was rather high; 10.0% in men and 4.3% in women.
The authors conclude that the yield of such screening might be lower in populations with a high degree of health awareness and well-controlled risk factors, such as hypertension or diabetes. In line with other studies, screening in this age group is probably only warranted in high-risk patients.