Korean J Med.  2021 Apr;96(2):76-84. 10.3904/kjm.2021.96.2.76.

2021 Korean Heart Rhythm Society Guidelines for Screening and Management of Subclinical Atrial Fibrillation

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a strong risk factor for embolic stroke. In patients with AF, optimal anticoagulation therapy, administered according to the stroke risk scoring system, can effectively reduce the stroke risk. However, AF episodes are frequently asymptomatic, with a significant number of them detected after a stroke event. Therefore, the early detection of subclinical AF and the subsequent administration of optimal oral anticoagulation therapy is expected to reduce the risk of stroke. However, this strategy requires more effective screening for the detection of AF in the asymptomatic stage, which accounts for the recent research interest in silent/subclinical AF. Today, the widespread use of cardiac implantable electronic devices and wearable rhythm monitors has enabled the detection of atrial high-rate episodes/subclinical AF in a substantial number of patients. The risk of stroke appears to be related to the duration of this phenomenon. Subclinical AF increases the risk of stroke, but generally not as much as clinical AF, but whether long-term anticoagulation therapy is required in patients with subclinical AF is unclear. Here we review existing data on the epidemiology, clinical significance, and suggest guidelines on management of subclinical AF and the optimal screening strategies aimed at its detection.


Atrial fibrillation; Atrial high rate episode; Subclinical atrial fibrillation; Mass screening; Wearable electronic devices
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