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Systematic or opportunistic screening was more effective than usual care for detecting new cases of atrial fibrillation

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F D Hobbs

Dr F D Hobbs, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; f.d.r.hobbs@bham.ac.uk

STUDY DESIGN

Design:

cluster randomised controlled trial.

Allocation:

unconcealed.*

Blinding:

blinded (cardiologists).*

STUDY QUESTION

Setting:

50 general practices in the UK.

Patients:

14 802 patients ⩾65 years of age (mean age 75 y, 43% men). Exclusion criteria included patients who were terminally ill, had moved, or were disqualified by the general practitioner.

Intervention:

25 practices (n = 9866) were allocated to screening and 25 practices (n = 4936) were allocated to usual care. Patients in the screening practices were allocated to systematic (routine electrocardiography) (n = 4933) or opportunistic (selective electrocardiography for symptoms or irregular pulse) (n = 4933) screening. Clinicians in the screening practices were given educational materials on the importance of detecting AF and …

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