BACKGROUND: An evidence-based approach for risk stratification of subclinical atrial fibrillation (AF) and hereby AF screening is lacking. This study aimed to investigate whether established cardiovascular diseases (CVD) could help to identify the population more likely to benefit from AF screening.
METHODS: The LOOP Study randomized AF-naïve individuals aged ≥70 years and with additional stroke risk factors to either screening with implantable loop recorder (ILR) and subsequent anticoagulation upon detection of new-onset AF episodes ≥6 min, or usual care. In this sub-study, all participants were divided into two risk groups according to the presence/absence of CVD (defined as ischemic heart disease, heart failure, previous stroke, valvular heart disease, or peripheral artery disease).
RESULTS: A total of 1997 (33.3%) had CVD at baseline and experienced higher incidences of stroke or systemic arterial embolism (SAE), ischemic stroke, stroke/SAE/cardiovascular death, and all-cause death (adjusted HR 1.34 [1.06-1.69], 1.31 [1.02-1.69], 1.49 [1.23-1.79], and 1.59 [1.36-1.85], respectively) than those without. For ILR screening versus usual care, there was no decrease in stroke/SAE, ischemic stroke, or stroke/SAE/cardiovascular death among participants with CVD (adjusted p-values >0.05), whereas significant reductions in these outcomes were obtained by screening among those without CVD (adjusted HR 0.64 [0.44-0.93], 0.54 [0.35-0.82], 0.64 [0.46-0.87], respectively); adjusted p-values for interaction ≤0.05.
CONCLUSIONS: In an elderly, at-risk population, ILR screening did not prevent stroke significantly in individuals with CVD, whereas screening was associated with approximately 40% stroke risk reduction among those without CVD. However, these findings should be considered as hypothesis-generating and warrant further study.
- Atrial Fibrillation/complications
- Cardiovascular Diseases/diagnosis
- Follow-Up Studies
- Ischemic Stroke/complications