Atrial fibrillation (AF) is common in older people and increases the risk of stroke. The feasibility and effectiveness of the implementation of a patient-led AF screening program for older people are unknown.
This study aims to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of an AF screening program comprising patient-led monitoring of single-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs) with clinician-coordinated central monitoring to diagnose AF among community-dwelling people aged ≥75 years in Australia.
This is a nationwide randomized controlled implementation trial conducted via the internet and remotely among 200 community-dwelling adults aged ≥75 years with no known AF. Randomization will be performed in a 1:1 allocation ratio for the intervention versus control. Intervention group participants will be enrolled in the monitoring program at randomization. They will receive a handheld single-lead ECG device and training on the self-recording of ECGs on weekdays and submit their ECGs via their smartphones. The control group participants will receive usual care from their general practitioners for the initial 6 months and then commence the 6-month monitoring program. The ECGs will be reviewed centrally by trained personnel. Participants and their general practitioners will be notified of AF and other clinically significant ECG abnormalities.
This study will establish the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing the intervention in this patient population. The primary clinical outcome is the AF detection rate, and the primary feasibility outcome is the patient satisfaction score. Other outcomes include appropriate use of anticoagulant therapy, participant recruitment rate, program engagement (eg, frequency of ECG transmission), agreement in ECG interpretation between the device automatic algorithm and clinicians, the proportion of participants who complete the trial and number of dropouts, and the impact of frailty on feasibility and outcomes. We will conduct a qualitative evaluation to examine the barriers to and acceptability and enablers of implementation. Ethics approval was obtained from the human research ethics committee at the University of Sydney (project number 2020/680). The results will be disseminated via conventional scientific forums, including peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national and international conferences.
By incorporating an integrated health care approach involving patient empowerment, centralized clinician-coordinated ECG monitoring, and facilitation of primary care and specialist services, it is possible to diagnose and treat AF early to reduce stroke risk. This study will provide new information on how to implement AF screening using digital health technology practicably and feasibly for older and frail populations residing in the community.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12621000184875;

©Kam Cheong Wong, Tu N Nguyen, Simone Marschner, Samual Turnbull, Mason Jenner Burns, Jia Yi Anna Ne, Vishal Gopal, Anupama Balasuriya Indrawansa, Steven A Trankle, Tim Usherwood, Saurabh Kumar, Richard I Lindley, Clara K Chow. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (, 01.02.2022.