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People over 65 should be screened for atrial fibrillation, say stroke specialists

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1644 (Published 05 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1644
  1. Bryan Christie
  1. 1Edinburgh

Stroke specialists from across the United Kingdom are calling for a national screening programme to be developed as a matter of urgency to improve detection of atrial fibrillation and prevent up to 2000 premature deaths a year.

This is the main recommendation from a two day consensus conference organised by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. It also said that aspirin should not be used to prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation and that underprescribing of anticoagulant drugs “should be addressed.”

Atrial fibrillation is easily treated with drugs such as warfarin, but evidence indicates that up to half of patients who could benefit from treatment …

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