AF carries an overall population prevalence of 0.5% to 1.0% and an incidence of 0.54 cases per 1000 person-years.[2][5][6] 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.[7] The Rotterdam study found that the lifetime risk of developing AF at 55 years old was 24% in men and 22% in women.[8] The prevalence of AF has a male predisposition, affecting men 1.5 times more commonly than women.[9] 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.[8][10][11] 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.[12] 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.[5][6] The prevalence and incidence of AF in non-white populations is less well studied.

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