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Racial and Urban-Rural Difference in the Frequency of Ischemic Stroke as Initial Manifestation of Atrial Fibrillation.

Guo J, Gabriel N, Magnani JW, Essien UR, Gellad WF, Brooks MM, Trinquart L, Benjamin EJ, Hernandez I. Racial and Urban-Rural Difference in the Frequency of Ischemic Stroke as Initial Manifestation of Atrial Fibrillation. Frontiers in public health. 2021 Nov 5; 9:780185.

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) may remain undiagnosed until the development of complications. We aimed to examine the epidemiology and racial/ethnic and rural/urban differences in the frequency of newly diagnosed AF manifesting as ischemic stroke in a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries. We used a 5% random sample of Medicare claims to identify patients newly diagnosed with AF in 2016. The primary dependent variable was stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in the 7 days to the first AF diagnosis, i.e., stroke or TIA as the initial manifestation of AF. We constructed a multivariable logistic regression to quantify the association between race/ethnicity, urban/rural residence, and the primary dependent variable. Among 39,409 patients newly diagnosed with AF (mean age 77 ± 10 years; 58% women; 7.2% Black, 87.8% White, 5.1% others), 2,819 (7.2%) had ischemic stroke or TIA in the 7 days to AF diagnosis. Black patients (adjusted OR [95% CI]: 1.21 [1.05, 1.40], vs. White) and urban residents (1.21 [1.08, 1.35], vs. rural) were at increased risk of stroke as the initial manifestation of AF. Racial differences were larger among patients aged = 75 years, with adjusted ORs of 1.43 (1.19, 1.73) for Black vs. White patients, but non-significant for those aged < 75 ( for interaction = 0.03). We observed significant and important differences in the risk of stroke as initial manifestation of AF between White and Black patients and between rural and urban residents. Our results suggest potential disparities in the identification AF across race/ethnicity groups and urban/rural areas.

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