Projections on the Number of Individuals With Atrial Fibrillation in the European Union, From 2000 to 2060

Study Questions:

What is the projected number of individuals with atrial fibrillation (AF) in the Netherlands and in the European Union from 2000 to 2060?


Age- and sex-specific AF prevalence estimates were obtained from the prospective community-based Rotterdam Study. Population projections for the Netherlands and the European Union were obtained from the European Union’s statistics office. The estimates of AF prevalence were then used to extrapolate to the population projections from Eurostat to estimate the total number of cases in the Netherlands and in the European Union. These extrapolations were done per sex and 5-year age group, and then combined to estimate the total number of adults over 55 years of age with AF.


In the age stratum of 55-59 years, the prevalence of AF was 1.3% in men (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.4-3.6%) and 1.7% in women (95% CI, 0.7-4.0%). The prevalence of AF increased to 24.2% in men (95% CI, 18.5-30.7%), and 16.1% in women (95% CI, 13.1-19.4%), for those >85 years of age. This age- and sex-specific prevalence remained stable during the years of follow-up. Furthermore, authors estimate that in the European Union, 8.8 million adults over 55 years had AF in 2010 (95% CI, 6.5-12.3 million). The authors project that this number will double by 2060 to 17.9 million (95% CI, 13.6-23.7 million) if the age- and sex-specific prevalence remains stable.


The authors concluded that they estimate that from 2010 to 2060, the number of adults ages 55 years and over with AF in the European Union will more than double.


This study projects that from 2010 to 2060, the number of adults ages 55 and over with AF will more than double in the Netherlands and in the European Union, and most of the projected increase will occur in the next few decades. Especially, the number of adults older than 75 years with AF will increase substantively. As AF is associated with significant morbidities and mortality, this increasing number of individuals with AF may have major public health implications. These results underscore the importance of preventative strategies aimed to reduce the risk of AF, including optimal control of risk factors such as hypertension.

Clinical Topics: Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Atrial Fibrillation/Supraventricular Arrhythmias

Keywords: Prevalence, Netherlands, Atrial Fibrillation, Risk Factors

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