Stefano Omboni, Tommaso Bellatore, Franco Rizzi, Fernanda Tomassini, Luca Campolo, Edoardo Panzeri, Kristina Lundwall, Thomas Kahan
Hypertension is the most common risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF). The ability to screen for potential AF during blood pressure (BP) measurement may be a valuable tool for early AF detection. The study evaluated the frequency of irregular pulse rates suggestive of AF in subjects undergoing ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) and compared the characteristics of patients at low risk of presumed AF vs. those at high risk. ABPM recordings were obtained in 4419 subjects aged ≥65 years visting 304 community pharmacies, with clinically validated automated monitors equipped with an algorithm for detecting possible AF episodes during BP measurement.
Since ABPM is currently regarded as the most accurate method for a correct diagnosis of hypertension, the AF detection algorithm has been implemented in an automated ABPM monitor (Microlife WatchBP O3 AFIB) to allow opportunistic screening over 24h. According to two validation studies comparing simultaneous 24-h ABPM and electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings, the diagnostic accuracy of the device is good, with a sensitivity ranging between 76% and 100% and a specificity ranging between 81 and 85% for the detection of paroxysmal AF and 100% and 100%, respectively, for the detection of permanent AF.
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