Asymptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cause of strokes. Physician screening for AF has been recommended. Home screening for AF may increase the likelihood of detecting asymptomatic AF in patients at risk for stroke because of AF. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility and accuracy of screening for AF when taking home blood pressure (BP) measurements using an automatic AF-detecting BP monitor. Subjects aged >64 years or those with hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or previous stroke were enrolled by their primary physicians and given the AF-BP monitor and an electrocardiographic event monitor to use at home for 30 days. The AF-BP monitor reading was compared with the electrocardiographic reading to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of the device for detecting AF. A total of 160 subjects were enrolled, with 10 withdrawing, 1 excluded, and 10 with no AF-BP monitor logs or electrocardiographic recordings. Of the 139 subjects included, 14 had known AF. There was a total of 3,316 days with AF-BP monitor readings and electrocardiographic readings. On the basis of the initial daily AF-BP monitor readings, the AF-BP monitor demonstrated sensitivity of 99.2% and specificity of 92.9% for detecting AF. Two subjects with no histories of AF had AF-BP monitor readings of AF that were confirmed by the electrocardiographic monitor. One of these subjects was started on warfarin. In conclusion, home screening for asymptomatic AF while taking BP measurements can be performed accurately. This can be used to detect new AF, allowing treatment with anticoagulation to reduce the future risk for stroke.
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