Semi-automatic software based detection of atrial fibrillation in acute ischaemic stroke and transient ischaemic attack

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Background and purpose:

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is often asymptomatic and increases the risk of ischaemic stroke. Detection of PAF is challenging but crucial because a change of treatment decreases the risk of ischaemic stroke. Post-stroke investigations recommend at least 24-h continuous cardiac rhythm monitoring. Extended monitoring detects more PAF but is limited by costs due to manual analysis. Interpretive software might be a reasonable screening tool. The aim was to validate the performance and utility of Pathfinder SL software compared to manual analysis.


In all, 135 ischaemic stroke patients with no prior history of PAF or atrial fibrillation and who had done a 7-day continuous electrocardiogram monitoring (Holter) were included. Manual analysis was compared with Pathfinder SL software including a systematic control of registered events.


Seventeen (12.6%) patients were diagnosed with PAF (atrial fibrillation > 30 s). Pathfinder SL software including a systematic control of events registered 16 (94.1%) patients with PAF. Manually 15 (88.2%) patients were detected with PAF. Pathfinder SL had a negative predictive value of 99% and sensitivity of 94%.


Pathfinder SL software including a systematic evaluation of events is an acceptable alternative compared to manual analysis in PAF detection following ischaemic stroke. It is less time consuming and therefore a reliable, cheaper alternative compared to manual analysis.

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