How many Australians have atrial fibrillation?
Currently, there are no national data sources that report on the total number of Australians who have AF.
Surveys and studies on sections of the Australian population suggest that AF affects approximately 2% of the general population—equivalent to more than 500,000 people in 2020.
The proportion affected increases with age. An estimated 5% of the Australian population aged 55 and over have AF.
Recent atrial fibrillation prevalence studies
- An estimated 2.2% of the general practice patient population in 2018-19 had a record of AF, compared to 1.8% reported for 2017-18 and 1.6% reported for 2016–17 (NPS MedicineWise 2020, 2019, 2018).
- In AusDiab, a longitudinal population-based study examining a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, 1.4% of participants aged 35 years and older had AF in 1999–2000. At follow-up 5 years later, new incident AF cases were identified at a rate of 2.0 per 1,000 person-years (Diouf et al. 2016).
- Rates of AF in international studies suggest that an estimated 5.4% of Australian adults aged 55 years and older had AF in 2014 (Ball et al. 2015).
- 2.5% of participants from 6 central Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities had AF in 2008–2009 (McGrady et al. 2012).
Ball J, Thompson DR, Ski CF, Carrington MJ, Gerber T & Stewart S 2015. Estimating the current and future prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the Australian adult population. Medical Journal of Australia 202:32–6.
Diouf I, Magliano DJ, Carrington MJ, Stewart S & Shaw JE 2016. Prevalence, incidence, risk factors and treatment of atrial fibrillation in Australia: The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) longitudinal, population cohort study. International Journal of Cardiology 205:127–32.
McGrady M, Krum H, Carrington MJ, Stewart S, Zeitz C, Lee GA et al. 2012. Heart failure, ventricular dysfunction and risk factor prevalence in Australian Aboriginal peoples: the Heart of the Heart Study. Heart 98:1562–7.
NPS MedicineWise 2018. General practice insights report July 2016 – June 2017: a working paper. Sydney: NPS MedicineWise.
NPS MedicineWise 2019. General practice insights report July 2017 – June 2018. Sydney: NPS MedicineWise.
NPS MedicineWise 2020. General practice insights report July 2018 – June 2019. Sydney: NPS MedicineWise.