Prevalence of atrial fibrillation and eligibility for anticoagulants in the community

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Abstract

Background

Anticoagulants are effective in the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation and flutter (AF). We aimed to find out the prevalence of AF in the UK and to estimate the proportion of patients with AF who might benefit from anticoagulation.

Interpretation

Anticoagulants seem to be underused and misdirected in treatment of AF, according to various criteria. Efforts to promote and support wider and more appropriate use of anticoagulants would seem to be justified, and should decrease the incidence of stroke amongst elderly patients.

Lancet 1998; 352

1167-71

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