Steven R. Steinhubl et al. –

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia, with a lifetime risk of 37% after age 55 years. When identified clinically, AF increases the risk of stroke 5-fold and accounts for almost one-third of all strokes. For approximately 20% of individuals who experience a stroke due to AF, the occurrence of AF was not diagnosed until the time of their stroke or shortly afterward. However, if AF is recognized, therapeutic anticoagulation can lead to an absolute risk reduction in all strokes of 2.7% per year for primary and 8.4% per year for secondary prevention, as well as a 0.5% per year absolute risk reduction in mortality. Accordingly, guidelines of multiple professional societies recommend screening for AF, although primarily via opportunistic pulse palpation or electrocardiogram (ECG) rhythm strip during routine medical visits.

Read the full article in JAMA.