Screening for Atrial Fibrillation: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

JAMA. 2022 Jan 25;327(4):360-367. doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.23732.


Importance: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. The prevalence of AF increases with age, from less than 0.2% in adults younger than 55 years to about 10% in those 85 years or older, with a higher prevalence in men than in women. It is uncertain whether the prevalence of AF differs by race and ethnicity. Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for ischemic stroke and is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of stroke. Approximately 20% of patients who have a stroke associated with AF are first diagnosed with AF at the time of the stroke or shortly thereafter.

Objective: To update its 2018 recommendation, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) commissioned a systematic review on the benefits and harms of screening for AF in older adults, the accuracy of screening tests, the effectiveness of screening tests to detect previously undiagnosed AF compared with usual care, and the benefits and harms of anticoagulant therapy for the treatment of screen-detected AF in older adults.

Population: Adults 50 years or older without a diagnosis or symptoms of AF and without a history of transient ischemic attack or stroke.

Evidence assessment: The USPSTF concludes that evidence is lacking, and the balance of benefits and harms of screening for AF in asymptomatic adults cannot be determined.

Recommendation: The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for AF. (I statement).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy
  • Electrocardiography / standards
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient
  • Mass Screening / adverse effects
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke / prevention & control


  • Anticoagulants