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Atrial fibrillation: Most UK media “promote screening” despite lack of evidence, study finds

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 11 October 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2449
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Screening for atrial fibrillation has largely been promoted by commentators, NHS organisations, and charities that have direct or indirect financial conflicts of interest, a study has said.1

Researchers from the UK and Australia carried out a cross sectional study of references to AF screening in the UK mainstream media, the NHS webpage on AF, patient information websites, and charity websites and content between 1 January 2018 and 31 July 2021.

They found that while the UK National Screening Committee recommends against screening for AF, the vast majority of the UK media “promotes screening.” Additionally, they said that information from sources without a conflict of interest was rare.

The study comes after The BMJ revealed that two linked AF patients’ associations, the Arrhythmia Alliance and AF Association, had launched a campaign calling on patients to put pressure on the …

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