Objectives Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice with major public health impact mainly due to the increased risk of stroke. The recent Global Burden of Disease Study reported a lack of prevalence data from India. Our goal was to conduct a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of assessing AF prevalence and stroke prophylaxis in an urban Indian community.
Methods A screening camp was conducted in Nagpur, India, that evaluated adults aged ≥18 years. We collected demographics, recorded blood pressure, height, weight and the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). The presence of diabetes and hypertension was recorded by self-reported history. Patients diagnosed with AF were evaluated further to assess aetiology and management.
Results Of the total 4077 randomly selected, community-dwelling adults studied, 0.196% (eight patients) were found to have AF. Mean age of the population was 43.9±14.8, and 44.5% were female. The mean age of the patients with AF was 60.5±15.8 years (five females). Rheumatic heart disease was found in five patients with AF. Three patients had history of stroke (37.5%) and one had peripheral arterial thrombosis. Three patients were on warfarin, but without routine international normalised ratio (INR) monitoring. One patient was on aspirin. Five patients were on β-blockers and one on both β-blocker and digoxin.
Conclusions The prevalence of AF was low compared with other regions of the world and stroke prophylaxis was underused. A larger study is needed to confirm these findings. This study demonstrates that larger evaluations would be feasible using the community-based techniques employed here.
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