AF carries an overall population prevalence of 0.5% to 1.0% and an incidence of 0.54 cases per 1000 person-years. The prevalence of AF is highly age-dependent. The prevalence increases with age, from 0.5% at 40 to 50 years, to 5% to 15% at 80 years. Men are more often affected than women. The Rotterdam study found that the lifetime risk of developing AF at 55 years old was 24% in men and 22% in women. The prevalence of AF has a male predisposition, affecting men 1.5 times more commonly than women. In the Framingham and Rotterdam studies, after adjustment for age and other risk factors, AF occurrence was greater in men than in women but occurrence was similar in other analyses. The Screening for Atrial Fibrillation in the Elderly (SAFE) project reported that the baseline prevalence of AF in participants aged over 65 years was 7.2%, with a higher prevalence in men (7.8%) and people aged 75 years or older, with an incidence of 0.69% to 1.64% per year, depending on screening method. These incidence data refer to cross-sectional study data whereby most people would have AF lasting >7 days (persistent, paroxysmal, or permanent AF) rather than acute AF. In the UK, the prevalence of AF is 0.5% to 1.0% and incidence is 0.54 cases per 1000 person-years. The prevalence and incidence of AF in non-white populations is less well studied.
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