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General Practice

Atrial fibrillation in elderly patients: prevalence and comorbidity in general practice

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 14 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1534
  1. M Langenberg, general practitionera,
  2. B S P Hellemons, general practitionera,
  3. J W van Ree, professor of general practicea,
  4. F Vermeer, cardiologistc,
  5. J Lodder, neurologistd,
  6. H J A Schouten, statisticianb,
  7. J A Knottnerus, professor of general practicea
  1. a Department of General Practice, University of Maastricht, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Netherlands
  2. b Department of Methodology and Statistics, University of Maastricht
  3. c Department of Cardiology, Academic Hospital, Maastricht
  4. d Department of Neurology, Academic Hospital
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Langenberg.
  • Accepted 7 August 1996

Patients with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of thromboembolic complications and mortality.1 To estimate the impact of prophylactic treatment in the general population it is important to know the prevalence of atrial fibrillation in primary care. Epidemiological surveys have reported different prevalence rates, probably because of differences in study populations and methods.1 2 Generally, the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation may be significantly reduced, but treatment advice for individual patients depends on comorbidity and its consequences.3 Therefore, it is important to identify features that influence prognosis in such patients. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of atrial fibrillation and comorbidities among elderly patients in general practice.

Methods and results

Prevalence and comorbidity were studied in patients …

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