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General practitioners' perceptions on opportunistic single-time point screening for atrial fibrillation: A European quantitative survey.

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Vermunicht, Paulien 
Grecu, Mihaela 
Deharo, Jean-Claude 
Buckley, Claire M 
Palà, Elena 


BACKGROUND: There is no clear guidance on how to implement opportunistic atrial fibrillation (AF) screening in daily clinical practice. OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the perception of general practitioners (GPs) about value and practicalities of implementing screening for AF, focusing on opportunistic single-time point screening with a single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) device. METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with a survey developed to assess overall perception concerning AF screening, feasibility of opportunistic single-lead ECG screening and implementation requirements and barriers. RESULTS: A total of 659 responses were collected (36.1% Eastern, 33.4% Western, 12.1% Southern, 10.0% Northern Europe, 8.3% United Kingdom & Ireland). The perceived need for standardized AF screening was rated as 82.7 on a scale from 0 to 100. The vast majority (88.0%) indicated no AF screening program is established in their region. Three out of four GPs (72.1%, lowest in Eastern and Southern Europe) were equipped with a 12-lead ECG, while a single-lead ECG was less common (10.8%, highest in United Kingdom & Ireland). Three in five GPs (59.3%) feel confident ruling out AF on a single-lead ECG strip. Assistance through more education (28.7%) and a tele-healthcare service offering advice on ambiguous tracings (25.2%) would be helpful. Preferred strategies to overcome barriers like insufficient (qualified) staff, included integrating AF screening with other healthcare programs (24.9%) and algorithms to identify patients most suitable for AF screening (24.3%). CONCLUSION: GPs perceive a strong need for a standardized AF screening approach. Additional resources may be required to have it widely adopted into clinical practice.


Peer reviewed: True

Acknowledgements: The authors thank the survey participants for their generous contribution of time and effort. We also thank our contact persons for their essential support in making the distribution of the survey possible.


AFFECT-EU, atrial fibrillation, general practitioners, screening, survey

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Front Cardiovasc Med

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Frontiers Media SA
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (847770)