Estimating the current and future prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the Australian adult population

Jocasta Ball, David R. Thompson, Chantal F. Ski, Melinda J. Carrington, Tracey Gerber, Simon Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To estimate the current and future prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in the Australian adult population according to age and sex.

Design: Application of international AF prevalence statistics to Australian adult population data (for people ³ 55 years) to estimate population prevalence; use of population projections to estimate potential future prevalence of AF.

Main outcome measures: Estimated prevalence of AF in 2014 and future prevalence projected to 2034.

Results: We estimated that at 30 June 2014 there would be 328 562 cases of AF among people aged ³ 55 years (a prevalence of 5.35%; 95% CI, 3.79%–7.53%), comprising 174 986 men (prevalence, 5.97%; 95% CI, 4.11%–8.54%) and 153 576 women (prevalence, 4.79%; 95% CI, 3.50%–6.60%). Without significant changes to the natural history of AF, by 2034 this figure is projected to rise to over 600 000 (prevalence, 6.39%; 95% CI, 4.56%–8.90%), with a prevalence of 7.22% among men (95% CI, 4.99%–10.28%) and 5.64% (95% CI, 4.18%–7.64%) among women. The greatest projected regional increase in prevalence between 2014 and 2034 is expected in Queensland, with a likely twofold increase (from 61 613 cases to 123 142 cases), although New South Wales cases will remain predominant, with a 1.7-fold increase (from 110 892 to 191 578). We also predicted that between 2014 and 2034 the number of AF cases would double among older age groups (from 200 638 to 414 377 individuals aged ³ 75 years) and would increase 2.5-fold among men aged ³ 85 years (from 29 370 to 71 582).

Conclusions: These data are indicative of a largely underappreciated AF prevalence in Australia. They mandate a more systematic effort to both understand and respond to an evolving AF burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-36
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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