A study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) raises important questions about the implications of widespread screening for atrial fibrillation — our most common abnormal heart rhythm (or, “arrhythmia”). Atrial fibrillation (“AF” or “AFib” for short) is an irregular beating of the heart’s two upper chambers, and is considered a risk factor for stroke. The study looked at diagnosing AF — not by the traditional electrocardiogram (ECG) performed during an office visit — but by using a wearable, self-applied ECG patch; specifically, in people over age 55 at high risk for developing the arrhythmia. The study found that at 4 months Afib was diagnosed in 53 out of 1,366 patients wearing the patch (3.9%) compared with 12 out of 1,293 patients (0.9%) in the control group; an absolute difference of 3%. After a full year the rate of AF diagnosis more than doubled in the monitored group (from 2.6 to … [Read more...] about Screening for atrial fibrillation with a wearable patch: Seek and ye shall find … and then what?