Atrial fibrillation prevalence and predictors in patients with diabetes: a cross-sectional screening study
Prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) and diabetes is increasing worldwide. Diabetes is a risk factor for AF and both increase stroke risk. Previous AF screening studies have recruited highrisk patient groups, but not with diabetes as the target group. This study aims to determine whether people with diabetes have a higher prevalence of AF than the general population and investigate whether determinants, such as diabetes duration or diabetes control, add to AF risk.
In a cross-sectional screening study, patients with diabetes were recruited via their GP surgeries or a diabetes centre. A 30-second single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) was recorded using the Kardia® device, along with physiological measurements and details relating to risk factor variables.
There were 300 participants recruited and 16 patients identified with AF (5.3% prevalence). This demonstrated a significantly greater likelihood of AF than the background population (p=0.043). People with diabetes and AF were significantly older than those who only had diabetes. More people with type 2 diabetes had AF than people with type 1. Prediction of AF diagnosis by age, sex, diabetes type, diabetes duration and level of control revealed only age as a significant predictor.
In conclusion, these findings add to existing data around the association of these chronic conditions, supporting AF screening in this high-risk group, particularly in those of older age. This can contribute to appropriate management of both conditions in combination, not least with regards to stroke prevention.