Prevalence and incidence rates of atrial fibrillation in Norway 2004-2014

Heart. 2021 Feb;107(3):201-207. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-316624. Epub 2020 Aug 20.


Objective: To study time trends in incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in the entire Norwegian population from 2004 to 2014, by age and sex, and to estimate the prevalence of AF at the end of the study period.

Methods: A national cohort of patients with AF (≥18 years) was identified from inpatient admissions with AF and deaths with AF as underlying cause (1994-2014), and AF outpatient visits (2008-2014) in the Cardiovascular Disease in Norway (CVDNOR) project. AF admissions or out-of-hospital death from AF, with no AF admission the previous 10 years defined incident AF. Age-standardised incidence rates (IR) and incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated. All AF cases identified through inpatient admissions and outpatient visits and alive as of 31 December 2014 defined AF prevalence.

Results: We identified 175 979 incident AF cases (30% primary diagnosis, 69% secondary diagnosis, 0.6% out-of-hospital deaths). AF IRs (95% confidence intervals) per 100 000 person years were stable from 2004 (433 (426-440)) to 2014 (440 (433-447)). IRs were stable or declining across strata of sex and age with the exception of an average yearly increase of 2.4% in 18-44 year-olds: IRR 1.024 (1.014-1.034). In 2014, the prevalence of AF in the adult population was 3.4%.

Conclusions: We found overall stable IRs of AF for the adult Norwegian population from 2004 to 2014. The prevalence of AF was 3.4% at the end of 2014, which is higher than reported in previous studies. Signs of an increasing incidence of early-onset AF (<45 years) are worrying and need further investigation.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult