adult screening programme

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation causes a fast and erratic heart beat. It is a complication of various diseases. Medication can slow the heart rate back to normal, and ease symptoms. In some cases, treatment can restore the heart back to a normal rhythm.

Read more about atrial fibrillation on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in August 2019.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

The UK NSC does not recommend a national screening programme for Atrial Fibrilation (AF) because:

  • there are different types of AF and it is not clear if these all have the same risk for stroke
  • it is not known how effective treatment for AF is in people found through screening
  • it is not known if screening is more beneficial for people with AF than the current approach

A large research project is currently underway in the UK to find out if screening is more beneficial for people with AF than the current process. This will help the UK NSC to understand more about the benefits and harms of screening.

Although screening is not recommended, clinical practice guidelines are covered by NICE.

Supporting documents from the 2019 review

Evidence summary Atrial fibrillation (2019)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses Atrial fibrillation (2019)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2019

Next review estimated to be completed: 2022 to 2023.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Atrial fibrillation

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.