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Background: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is high in older patients. The present study aimed to estimate the age and sex specific prevalence of clinical and screen-detected atrial fibrillation (AF) in hospitalized patients. Methods: The STAR-FIB cohort study was a prospective cohort study recruiting participants from a large source population of hospitalized patients aged 65–84 years. The estimated size of the source population was 26,035 (95% CI 25,918–26,152), and 795 consenting patients without clinical AF were included in the cohort study after stratification by sex and age (49.2% females; mean age 74.7 years). Patients in the cohort study underwent three seven-day Holter ECGs in intervals of two months to screen for AF. Results: In the source population, the estimated prevalence of clinical AF was 22.2% (95% CI 18.4–26.1), 23.8% for males (95% CI 20.9–26.6) and 19.8% for females (95% CI 17.3–22.4; p for difference between sexes, 0.004). There was a linear trend for an increase in the prevalence of clinical AF with increasing age, overall and in both sexes. In the cohort study, AF was newly diagnosed in 38 patients, for an estimated prevalence of screen-detected AF of 4.9% overall (95% CI 3.3–6.6), 5.5% in males (95% CI 3.2–7.8) and 4.0% in females (95% CI 2.0–6.0; p for difference between sexes, 0.041). The estimated prevalence of screen-detected AF in the source population was 3.8% overall, 4.2% in males and 3.2% in females. Conclusion: In a large hospital-based patient population aged 65–84 years, the prevalence of clinical AF and of screen-detected AF was 22.2% and 3.8%, respectively, and significantly higher in males than females.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Clinical Medicine

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