Temporal trends in incidence, prevalence, and mortality of atrial fibrillation in primary care

Deirdre A. Lane, Flemming Skjøth, Gregory Y.H. Lip, Torben B. Larsen, Dipak Kotecha

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Background- Incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) are expected to increase dramatically; however, we currently lack comprehensive data on temporal trends in unselected clinical populations. Methods and Results- Analysis of the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) from 1998 to 2010 of patients with incident AF, excluding major valvular disease, linked to hospital admission data and national statistics. Fifty-seven thousand eight hundred eighteen adults were identified with mean age 74.2 (SD, 11.7) years and 48.3% women. Overall age-adjusted incidence of AF per 1000 person years was 1.11 (95% CI, 1.09-1.13) in 1998-2001, 1.33 (1.31-1.34) in 2002-2006, and 1.33 (1.31-1.35) in 2007- 2010. Ongoing increases in incidence were noted for patients aged ≥ 75 years, with similar temporal patterns in women and men. Associated comorbidities varied over time, with a constant prevalence of previous stroke, increases in hypertension and diabetes mellitus, and decreases in ischemic heart disease. Among patients aged 55 to 74 years, there was a significant reduction in mortality over time (P < 0.001), but mortality rates in patients aged ≥75 years remained static at 14% to 15% per year (P=0.84). Projections of AF prevalence demonstrated a constant yearly rise, increasing from 700 000 patients in 2010 to between 1.3 and 1.8 million patients with AF in the United Kingdom by 2060. Conclusions- In a large general practice population, incident AF increased and then plateaued overall, with a continued increase in patients aged ≥ 75 years. The large projected increase in AF prevalence associated with temporal changes in AF-related comorbidities suggests the need for comprehensive implementation of AF prevention and management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere005155
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Mortality
  • Prevalence
  • Primary care

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