Estimates and projections of diagnosed incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in the United States have been highly inconsistent across published studies. Although it is generally acknowledged that AF incidence and prevalence are increasing due to growing numbers of older people in the U.S. population, estimates of the rate of expected growth have varied widely. Reasons for these variations include differences in study design, covered time period, birth cohort, and temporal effects, as well as improvements in AF diagnosis due to increased use of diagnostic tools and health care awareness. The objective of this study was to estimate and project the incidence and prevalence of diagnosed AF in the United States out to 2030. A large health insurance claims database for the years 2001 to 2008, representing a geographically diverse 5% of the U.S. population, was used in this study. The trend and growth rate in AF incidence and prevalence was projected by a dynamic age-period cohort simulation progression model that included all diagnosed AF cases in future prevalence projections regardless of follow-up treatment, as well as those cases expected to be chronic in nature. Results from the model showed that AF incidence will double, from 1.2 million cases in 2010 to 2.6 million cases in 2030. Given this increase in incidence, AF prevalence is projected to increase from 5.2 million in 2010 to 12.1 million cases in 2030. The effect of uncertainty in model parameters was explored in deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Variability in future trends in AF incidence and recurrence rates has the greatest impact on the projected estimates of chronic AF prevalence. It can be concluded that both incidence and prevalence of AF are likely to rise from 2010 to 2030, but there exists a wide range of uncertainty around the magnitude of future trends.
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