Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. The prevalence of AF increases with age, from less than 0.2% in adults younger than 55 years to about 10% in those 85 years or older, with a higher prevalence in men than in women. It is uncertain whether the prevalence of AF differs by race and ethnicity. Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for ischemic stroke and is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of stroke. Approximately 20% of patients who have a stroke associated with AF are first diagnosed with AF at the time of the stroke or shortly thereafter.
To update its 2018 recommendation, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) commissioned a systematic review on the benefits and harms of screening for AF in older adults, the accuracy of screening tests, the effectiveness of screening tests to detect previously undiagnosed AF compared with usual care, and the benefits and harms of anticoagulant therapy for the treatment of screen-detected AF in older adults.
Adults 50 years or older without a diagnosis or symptoms of AF and without a history of transient ischemic attack or stroke.
The USPSTF concludes that evidence is lacking, and the balance of benefits and harms of screening for AF in asymptomatic adults cannot be determined.
The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for AF. (I statement)
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Corresponding Author: Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, 130 E 59th St, Ste 14C, New York, NY 10032 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for Publication: December 16, 2021.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc; Michael J. Barry, MD; Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH; Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH; Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Esa M. Davis, MD, MPH; Katrina E. Donahue, MD, MPH; Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH; John W. Epling Jr, MD, MSEd; Martha Kubik, PhD, RN; Li Li, MD, PhD, MPH; Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH; Lori Pbert, PhD; Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH; James Stevermer, MD, MSPH; Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE; John B. Wong, MD.
Affiliations of The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health, Manhasset, New York (Davidson); Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Barry); University of California, Los Angeles (Mangione); Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York (Cabana); Oregon Health & Science University, Portland (Caughey); University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Davis); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Donahue); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (Doubeni); Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke (Epling Jr); George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia (Kubik); University of Virginia, Charlottesville (Li); New York University, New York, New York (Ogedegbe); University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Pbert); Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Silverstein); University of Missouri, Columbia (Stevermer); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (Tseng); Pacific Health Research and Education Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii (Tseng); Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts (Wong).
Author Contributions: Dr Davidson had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The USPSTF members contributed equally to the recommendation statement.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/conflict-of-interest-disclosures. All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings.
Funding/Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The US Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support the operations of the USPSTF.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: AHRQ staff assisted in the following: development and review of the research plan, commission of the systematic evidence review from an Evidence-based Practice Center, coordination of expert review and public comment of the draft evidence report and draft recommendation statement, and the writing and preparation of the final recommendation statement and its submission for publication. AHRQ staff had no role in the approval of the final recommendation statement or the decision to submit for publication.
Disclaimer: USPSTF recommendations are independent of the US Government. They should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ or the Department of Health and Human Services. AHRQ does not mandate national standards of clinical practice or quality health care standards.
Additional Contributions: We thank Howard Tracer, MD (AHRQ), who contributed to the writing of the manuscript, and Lisa Nicolella, MA (AHRQ), who assisted with coordination and editing.
Additional Information: The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) makes recommendations about the effectiveness of specific preventive care services for patients without obvious related signs or symptoms. It bases its recommendations on the evidence of both the benefits and harms of the service and an assessment of the balance. The USPSTF does not consider the costs of providing a service in this assessment. The USPSTF recognizes that clinical decisions involve more considerations than evidence alone. Clinicians should understand the evidence but individualize decision-making to the specific patient or situation. Similarly, the USPSTF notes that policy and coverage decisions involve considerations in addition to the evidence of clinical benefits and harms. Published by JAMA®—Journal of the American Medical Association under arrangement with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). ©2022 AMA and United States Government, as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), by assignment from the members of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). All rights reserved.
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