Screening for undiagnosed atrial fibrillation
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INTRODUCTION: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition of global importance, and it is associated with significant morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. A considerable proportion of patients with AF are asymptomatic, and stroke may be the first clinical manifestation of their AF diagnosis. AF screening provides an opportunity to identify patients with undetected AF prior to suffering a devastating complication. Areas covered: This review will provide a rationale for AF screening; summarize AF screening methods, studies, and economic analyses; evaluate AF as a condition meeting criteria for population screening; and discuss potential drawbacks. Expert commentary: While AF screening is simple, low risk, and, in most cases, low cost, additional research is needed validating new technologies and devices; defining strategies for linking screening with initiation of oral anticoagulation therapy and determining whether AF screening ultimately reduces stroke and stroke-related complications and costs.
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