Screening for Atrial Fibrillation in Patients ≥65 Years Using an Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor in a Skilled Nursing Facility

      Early detection of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF) provides an opportunity to treat patients to reduce their risk of stroke. Long-term residents of skilled nursing facilities frequently have multiple risk factors for strokes due to AF and may benefit from screening for AF. Patients in a skilled nursing facility 65 years and older, without a history of AF and without a pacemaker or defibrillator, were evaluated using a Microlife WatchBP Home A automatic blood pressure monitor that can detect AF when set to a triple reading mode. Those with readings positive for AF were evaluated with a standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) or a 30-second single-channel ECG to confirm the presence of AF. A total of 101 patients were screened with an average age of 78 years, and 48 (48%) were female. Nine automatic blood pressure monitor readings were positive for possible AF. Of those, 7 (6.9%, 95% confidence intervals 3.0% to 14.2%) had AF confirmed with ECG. Only 2 (2%, 95% confidence interval 0.3% to 7.7%) were false-positive readings. One-time screening for AF using an automatic blood pressure monitor in a skilled nursing facility resulted in a high number of patients with newly diagnosed AF.
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