Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia worldwide. The AF is associated with severe mortality, morbidity, and healthcare costs, and guidelines recommend screening people at risk. However, screening methods and organization still need to be clarified. The current study aimed to assess the feasibility of a fully digital self-screening procedure and to assess the prevalence of undetected AF using a continuous patch electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring system.
Individuals ≥65 years old with at least one additional risk factor for stroke from the general population of Norway were invited to a fully digital continuous self-screening for AF using a patch ECG device (ECG247 Smart Heart Sensor). Participants self-reported clinical characteristics and usability online, and all participants received digital feedback of their results. A total of 2118 individuals with a mean CHA2DS2-VASc risk score of 2.6 (0.9) were enrolled in the study [74% women; mean age 70.1 years (4.2)]. Of these, 1849 (87.3%) participants completed the ECG self-screening test, while 215 (10.2%) did not try to start the test and 54 (2.5%) failed to start the test. The system usability score was 84.5. The mean ECG monitoring time was 153 h (87). Atrial fibrillation was detected in 41 (2.2%) individuals.
This fully digitalized self-screening procedure for AF demonstrated excellent feasibility. The number needed to screen was 45 to detect one unrecognized case of AF in subjects at risk for stroke. Randomized studies with long-term follow-up are needed to assess whether self-screening for AF can reduce the incidence of AF-related complications.
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