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Clinical Summary

Atrial Fibrillation: Screening With Electrocardiography

Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Population Older adults
Recommendation No recommendation.
Grade: I (insufficient evidence)
Risk Assessment Atrial fibrillation is strongly associated with older age and obesity. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, prior cardiothoracic surgery, current smoking, prior stroke, sleep apnea, alcohol and drug use, and hyperthyroidism.
Screening Tests The USPSTF found inadequate evidence to assess whether screening with electrocardiography identifies older adults with previously undiagnosed atrial fibrillation more effectively than usual care.
Treatments and Interventions Treatment of atrial fibrillation has 2 components: managing arrhythmia and preventing stroke. In general, these treatment goals are independent of each other. Arrhythmia can be managed by controlling the heart rate to minimize symptoms (usually through medication) or by restoring a normal rhythm. Treatment with anticoagulant therapy reduces the incidence of stroke in patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation and high stroke risk.
Other Relevant USPSTF Recommendations The USPSTF has made recommendations on many factors related to stroke prevention, including screening for high blood pressure, use of statins, counseling on smoking cessation, counseling to promote healthful diet and physical activity, and low-dose aspirin use for certain persons at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making these recommendations, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents, please go to

Current as of: August 2018

Internet Citation: Clinical Summary: Atrial Fibrillation: Screening With Electrocardiography. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. August 2018.

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