US Preventive Services Task Force Issues Recommendation Statement on AFib Screening

There is currently insufficient evidence available to recommend for or against screening for atrial fibrillation (AFib) in older adults, according to a new Recommendation Statement released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and published in JAMA.

The new statement updates the USPSTF 2018 recommendation and is based on a systematic review on the benefits and harms of screening in adults older than 50 years without a diagnosis or symptoms of AFib and without a history of transient ischemic attack or stroke. Specifically, the review addressed the accuracy of screening tests; the effectiveness of screening tests to detect previously undiagnosed AFib compared with usual care; and the benefits and harms of anticoagulant therapy for the treatment of screening-detected AFib in this patient group.

The final USPSTF “I Statement” concludes “that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for atrial fibrillation” in asymptomatic adults 50 years or older.”

“Unfortunately, there still is not enough evidence to know if screening for AFib helps to prevent strokes in older adults,” says Task Force member Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH. “Since AFib is a risk factor for stroke and can go undetected, clinicians should use their best judgment to decide whether or not to screen people without signs or symptoms of AFib.”

Keywords: ACC Advocacy

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