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Hot Topics: Atrial Fibrillation May Be Commonly Undiganosed

Jackie Werner Cardiology, Hot Topics in Research

Incidence of Previously Undiagnosed Atrial Fibrillation Using Insertable Cardiac Monitors in a High-Risk Population: The REVEAL AF Study

Reiffel JA, Verma A, Kowey PR, al e. Incidence of previously undiagnosed atrial fibrillation using insertable cardiac monitors in a high-risk population: The reveal af study. JAMA Cardiology. 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2017.3180.

Importance  In approximately 20% of atrial fibrillation (AF)–related ischemic strokes, stroke is the first clinical manifestation of AF. Strategies are needed to identify and therapeutically address previously undetected AF.

Objective  To quantify the incidence of AF in patients at high risk for but without previously known AF using an insertable cardiac monitor.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This prospective, single-arm, multicenter study was conducted from November 2012 to January 2017. Visits took place at 57 centers in the United States and Europe. Patients with a CHADS2 score of 3 or greater (or 2 with at least 1 additional risk factor) were enrolled. Approximately 90% had nonspecific symptoms potentially compatible with AF, such as fatigue, dyspnea, and/or palpitations.

Exposures  Patients underwent monitoring with an insertable cardiac monitor for 18 to 30 months.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary end point was adjudicated AF lasting 6 or more minutes and was assessed at 18 months. Other analyses included detection rates at points from 30 days to 30 months and among CHADS2 score subgroups. Median time from insertion to detection and the percentage of patients subsequently prescribed oral anticoagulation therapy was also determined.

Results  A total of 446 patients were enrolled; 233 (52.2%) were male, and the mean (SD) age was 71.5 (9.9) years. A total of 385 patients (86.3%) received an insertable cardiac monitor, met the primary analysis cohort definition, and were observed for a mean (SD) period of 22.5 (7.7) months. The detection rate of AF lasting 6 or more minutes at 18 months was 29.3%. Detection rates at 30 days and 6, 12, 24, and 30 months were 6.2%, 20.4%, 27.1%, 33.6%, and 40.0%, respectively. At 18 months, AF incidence was similar among patients with CHADS2 scores of 2 (24.7%; 95% CI, 17.3-31.4), 3 (32.7%; 95% CI, 23.8-40.7), and 4 or greater (31.7%; 95% CI, 22.0-40.3) (P = .23). Median (interquartile) time from device insertion to first AF episode detection was 123 (41-330) days. Of patients meeting the primary end point, 13 (10.2%) had 1 or more episodes lasting 24 hours or longer, and oral anticoagulation therapy was prescribed for 72 patients (56.3%).

Conclusions and Relevance  The incidence of previously undiagnosed AF may be substantial in patients with risk factors for AF and stroke. Atrial fibrillation would have gone undetected in most patients had monitoring been limited to 30 days. Further trials regarding the value of detecting subclinical AF and of prophylactic therapies are warranted.