Abstract 15661: Low Awareness of Atrial Fibrillation in a Nationally Representative Sample of Older Adults
Introduction Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide and strongly increases risk of stroke. Information on its prevalence, levels of awareness and diagnosis is severely lacking in Ireland. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and levels of awareness of AF in a nationally representative sample of older people living in Ireland.
Methods A nationally representative sample of older Irish adults age 50+ was recruited as part of the Irish Longitudinal study on Ageing (TILDA). Both in-home computer aided personal interviewing (CAPI) and objective health centre based assessments were used for data collection. Participants were asked to self-report whether or not they had received a doctor's diagnosis of an irregular heart rhythm. Ten-minute resting ECG records were screened by 2 clinicians independently for persistent AF according to ESC guidelines. Prevalence rates were reweighted using an inverse probability approach and reported as percentages of the total Irish population.
Results Data were available from 4154 (1862 males) participants aged >=50. Prevalence of ECG documented AF across all age groups was found to be 3.2% and was more common in older men (0.8% aged 50-59 years versus 10.8% for those aged 80+). In those with ECG documented evidence of AF, 38.2% of individuals with AF were unaware that they had an irregular rhythm with this lack of awareness peaking at 64.1% in those aged 65-70.
Conclusion Overall prevalence of AF in Ireland is 3.2% (95% CI: 2.5% - 4.0%). Almost 40% of individuals with AF are unaware that they have an irregular rhythm. This peaks at about two thirds in those aged 65-70. Based on these results we suggest that AF is poorly recognised, and under-diagnosed in this population.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.