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Diagnose AF

Only a small percentage of asymptomatic patients are found.

It is well known that patients with atrial fibrillation frequently have asymptomatic episodes of AF, but its extent has only recently started to become clear. Many patients with asymptomatic AF are undiagnosed and therefore not treated. The recording of surveillance ECGs, obtained during (GP) office visits is an insensitive method for detection of asymptomatic AF. The percentage of asymptomatic AF patients, occasionally found during clinical examinations is below 20%, i.e. more then 80% of these patients is missed. In the Netherlands, with 220,000 diagnosed AF patients and an average of 40% undiagnosed AF patients (partly due to asymptomatic AF), the total prevalence of AF is estimated to exceed 300,000 patients. Moreover, patients with a history of symptomatic AF have no guarantee that recurrences will be symptomatic.

Methods for detection and monitoring of atrial fibrillation are insufficient.

Due to the paroxysmal nature of atrial fibrillation, surveillance ECGs recorded during GP or cardiologist visits are not sensitive enough to detect AF. Also 24 hr. Holter monitoring is not an ideal diagnostic instrument to confirm AF. Because of the limited duration of the recording, confirmation of AF is difficult. Several studies have shown that long-term opportunistic monitoring of patients with an increased risk of stroke (e.g. CHADS2>1) increases the sensitivity of AF detection.