Atrial fibrillation: the current epidemic

J Geriatr Cardiol. 2017 Mar;14(3):195-203. doi: 10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.03.011.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia diagnosed in clinical practice. The consequences of AF have been clearly established in multiple large observational cohort studies and include increased stroke and systemic embolism rates if no oral anticoagulation is prescribed, with increased morbidity and mortality. With the worldwide aging of the population characterized by a large influx of "baby boomers" with or without risk factors for developing AF, an epidemic is forecasted within the next 10 to 20 years. Although not all studies support this evidence, it is clear that AF is on the rise and a significant amount of health resources are invested in detecting and managing AF. This review focuses on the worldwide burden of AF and reviews global health strategies focused on improving detection, prevention and risk stratification of AF, recently recommended by the World Heart Federation.

Keywords: Aging; Anticoagulation; Atrial fibrillation; Heart failure; Hypertension; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Review