Urgent action is needed to prevent, detect and treat atrial fibrillation (AF) to stop a substantial rise in disabling strokes, according to a paper published in EP Europace.
For the study, researchers measured the prevalence of AF in a representative sample of people aged above 65 years in Italy and used these data to generate projections on the numbers of older people with AF expected in Italy and in the European Union over the next four decades.
The number of elderly people in the EU having AF in 2016 was estimated at approximately 7.6 million, with about 52 per cent occurring in women. This number is expected to increase to approximately 14.4 in 2060, with 48.2 per cent occurring in women.
These figures indicate a 22 per cent increase, by 2060, of AF prevalence, from 7.8% to 9.5% in the EU over-65 population, corresponding to an 89 per cent increase in the number of AF cases.
“These results underline the enormous challenges in identifying and managing AF and cardiovascular risk in Europe, pivotal to reduce the future human and societal costs of this important health condition,” the authors said.