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Deprived miss AF diagnosis

Patients in deprived areas appear to be missing out on diagnoses for atrial fibrillation.

A new study, published online by Heart, unexpectedly found the prevalence of the condition fell with increasing socioeconomic deprivation.

The researchers said the results could reflect poorer detection or prognosis in patients from deprived areas.

The prevalence of atrial fibrillation was 9.2 per 1,000 patients in the group of patients rated in the lowest category for deprivation, compared with 7.5 per 1,000 for those in the highest deprivation category.

Study researcher Dr Colin Simpson, project manager at the primary care clinical informatics research unit, University of Aberdeen, said: 'Deprived patients may be less willing to seek advice. Also there is evidence practices from deprived areas have unique pressures, which can affect the time GPs have to consult with their patients.'

Researchers looked at the treatment of AF in practices that had participated in the Scottish Continuous Morbidity Recording scheme between April 2001 and March 2002.

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