Mass Screening for Atrial Fibrillation: The Hype, The Methods, and The Application

Recently, Apple launched new heart-related features for their Apple Watch, including an app cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration that notifies wearers if atrial fibrillation has occurred. Apple admits, however, that the watch cannot detect all episodes; inconclusive results are possible; and it is not intended for people with known atrial fibrillation.1 Notably, this comes shortly after the US Preventive Services Task Force published an advisory stating: “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for atrial fibrillation with electrocardiograms (ECG).”2 So, what is the public to do about atrial fibrillation screening? The answer depends on whether screening is needed (Table 1).

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