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The prevalence, management, and thirty-day outcomes of symptomatic atrial fibrillation in a Tanzanian emergency department.

Introduction: Data describing atrial fibrillation (AF) care in emergency centres (ECs) in sub-Saharan Africa is lacking. We sought to describe the prevalence and outcomes of AF in a Tanzanian EC. Methods: In a prospective, observational study, adults presenting with chest pain or shortness of breath to a Tanzanian EC were enrolled from January through October 2019. Participants underwent electrocardiogram testing which were reviewed by two independent physician judges to determine presence of AF. Participants were asked about their medical history and medication use at enrollment, and a follow-up questionnaire was administered via telephone thirty days later to assess mortality, interim stroke, and medication use. Results: Of 681 enrolled patients, 53 (7.8%) had AF. The mean age of participants with AF was 68.1, with a standard deviation (sd) of 21.1 years, and 23 of the 53 (43.4%) being male. On presentation, none of the participants found to have AF reported a previous history of AF. The median CHADS-VASC score among participants was 4 with an interquartile range (IQR) of 2-4. No participants were taking an anticoagulant at baseline. On index presentation, 49 (92.5%) participants with AF were hospitalised with 52 (98.1%) participants completing 30-day follow-up. 18 (34%) participants died, and 5 (9.6%) suffered a stroke. Of the surviving 31 participants with AF and a CHADS-VASC score ≥ 2, none were taking other anti-coagulants at 30 days. Compared to participants without AF, participants with AF were more likely to be hospitalised (OR 5.25, 95% CI 2.10-17.95, p < 0.001), more likely to die within thirty days (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.03-3.50, p = 0.031), and more likely to suffer a stroke within thirty days (OR 5.91, 95% CI 1.76-17.28, p < 0.001). Discussion: AF is common in a Tanzanian EC, with thirty-day mortality being high, but use of evidence-based therapies is rare. There is an opportunity to improve AF care and outcomes in Tanzania.


Oyediran, Isaac O., Sainikitha Prattipati, Francis M. Sakita, Godfrey L. Kweka, Tumsifu G. Tarimo, Timothy Peterson, Zak Loring, Alexander T. Limkakeng, Gerald S. Bloomfield, and Julian T. Hertz. “The prevalence, management, and thirty-day outcomes of symptomatic atrial fibrillation in a Tanzanian emergency department.” Afr J Emerg Med 11, no. 4 (December 2021): 404–9.

Published Date: 
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Published In: 
Afr J Emerg Med