Screen-detected atrial fibrillation predicts mortality in elderly subjects

Matthias D. Zink, Karl G. Mischke, Andras P. Keszei, Christian Rummey, Ben Freedman, Gabriele Neumann, Alina Tolksdorf, Friederike Frank, Jan Wienstroeer, Nicole Kuth, Joerg B. Schulz, Nikolaus Marx*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims Current guidelines recommend opportunistic screening for atrial fibrillation (AF) but the prognosis of individuals is unclear. The aim of this investigation is to determine prevalence and 1-year outcome of individuals with screen-detected AF.

Methods and results We performed a prospective, pharmacy-based single time point AF screening study in 7107 elderly citizens (>= 65 years) using a hand-held, single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) device. Prevalence of AF was assessed, and data on all-cause death and hospitalization for cardiovascular (CV) causes were collected over a median follow-up of 401 (372; 435) days. Mean age of participants was 74 +/- 5.9 years, with 58% (N = 4130) of female sex. Automated heart rhythm analyses identified AF in 432 (6.1%) participants, with newly diagnosed AF in 3.6% of all subjects. During follow-up, 62 participants (0.9%) died and 390 (6.0%) were hospitalized for CV causes. Total mortality was 2.3% in participants with a screen-detected AF and 0.8% in subjects with a normal ECG [hazard ratio (HR) 2.94; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.49-5.78; P= 0.002]; hospitalization for CV causes occurred in 10.6% and 5.5%, respectively (HR 2.08; 95% CI 1.52-2.84; P< 0.001). Compared with subjects without a history of AF at baseline and a normal ECG, participants with newly diagnosed or known AF had a significantly higher mortality risk with HRs of 2.64 (95% CI 1.05-6.66; P= 0.04) and 2.68 (95% CI 1.44-4.97; P= 0.002), respectively. After multivariable adjustment, screen-detected AF remained a significant predictor of death or hospitalization for CV causes.

Conclusion Pharmacy-based, automated AF screening in elderly citizens identified subjects with unknown AF and an excess mortality risk over the next year.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalEP Europace
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Opportunistic
  • Outcome
  • Pharmacy
  • Prognosis
  • Screening
  • RISK


Dive into the research topics of 'Screen-detected atrial fibrillation predicts mortality in elderly subjects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this