Background: The prevalence of subclinical atrial fibrillation (AF) in the elderly general population is unclear. We sought to define the prevalence of subclinical AF in a community-based elderly population and to characterize subclinical AF and the incremental diagnostic yield of 4 versus 2 weeks of continuous ECG monitoring. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis within the community-based multicenter observational ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) using visit 6 (2016-2017) data. The 2616 ARIC study participants who wore a leadless, ambulatory ECG monitor (Zio XT Patch) for up to 2 weeks were aged 79±5 years, 42% men, and 26% black. In a subset, 386 participants without clinically recognized AF wore the monitor twice, each time for up to 2 weeks. We characterized the prevalence of subclinical AF (ie, AF detected on the Zio XT Patch without clinically recognized AF) over 2 weeks of monitoring and the diagnostic yield of 4 versus 2 weeks of monitoring. Results: The prevalence of subclinical AF was 2.5%; the prevalence of subclinical AF was 3.3% among white men, 2.5% among white women, 2.1% among black men, and 1.6% among black women. Subclinical AF was mostly intermittent (75%). Among those with intermittent subclinical AF, 91% had AF burden ≤10% during the monitoring period. In a subset of 386 participants without clinical AF, 78% more subclinical AF was detected by 4 weeks versus 2 weeks of ECG monitoring. Conclusions: In our study, the prevalence of subclinical AF was lower than previously reported and monitoring beyond 2 weeks provided substantial incremental diagnostic yield. Future studies should focus on individuals with higher risk to increase diagnostic yield and consider continuous monitoring duration longer than 2 weeks.
- atrial fibrillation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)