The Global Burden of Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke: A Systematic Review of the Epidemiology of Atrial Fibrillation in Regions outside North America and Europe

Chest, 04/04/2012

Lip GYH et al. – High–quality epidemiological studies are clearly required to improve understanding of the worldwide burden of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and stroke in AF. Major improvements in the provision of thromboprophylaxis are also needed in many countries given the high proportion of untreated patients who are hence at risk of stroke.


  • Systematic literature searches (MEDLINE; 1990–2010) identified epidemiological studies reporting on the prevalence or incidence of AF, stroke in AF, risk factors for AF, or the use of antithrombotic therapy in countries outside North America and Europe.
  • This report presents a descriptive analysis of the data; no meta–analysis was planned.


  • Many of the 38 articles identified were from the Far East, although Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and South America were also represented.
  • The reported prevalence of AF varied among countries, with different ranges in community– and hospital–based studies (0.1–4% and 2.8–14%, respectively).
  • The use of anticoagulant therapy varied widely among countries and studies, as did the reported prevalence of stroke in patients with AF (2.8–24.2%).

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