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Diagnostic performance of an automatic blood pressure measurement device, Microlife WatchBP Home A, for atrial fibrillation screening in a real-world primary care setting
  1. Pak-Hei Chan1,
  2. Chun-Ka Wong1,
  3. Louise Pun2,
  4. Yu-Fai Wong2,
  5. Michelle Man-Ying Wong2,
  6. Daniel Wai-Sing Chu2,
  7. Chung-Wah Siu1
  1. 1 Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
  2. 2 Department of Family Medicine and Primary Healthcare, Hong Kong East Cluster, Hong Kong SAR, China
  1. Correspondence to Prof. Chung-Wah Siu; cwdsiu{at}


Objective To evaluate the diagnostic performance of a UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-recommended automatic oscillometric blood pressure (BP) measurement device incorporated with an atrial fibrillation (AF) detection algorithm (Microlife WatchBP Home A) for real-world AF screening in a primary healthcare setting.

Setting Primary healthcare setting in Hong Kong.

Interventions This was a prospective AF screening study carried out between 1 September 2014 and 14 January 2015. The Microlife device was evaluated for AF detection and compared with a reference standard of lead-I ECG.

Primary outcome measures Diagnostic performance of Microlife for AF detection.

Results 5969 patients (mean age: 67.2±11.0 years; 53.9% female) were recruited. The mean CHA2DS2-VASc ( C : congestive heart failure [1 point]; H : hypertension [1 point]; A2 : age 65-74 years [1 point] and age ≥75 years [2 points]; D : diabetes mellitus [1 point]; S : prior stroke or transient ischemic attack [2 points]; VA : vascular disease [1 point]; and Sc : sex category [female] [1 point])score was 2.8±1.3. AF was diagnosed in 72 patients (1.21%) and confirmed by a 12-lead ECG. The Microlife device correctly identified AF in 58 patients and produced 79 false-positives. The corresponding sensitivity and specificity for AF detection were 80.6% (95% CI 69.5 to 88.9) and 98.7% (95% CI 98.3 to 98.9), respectively. Among patients with a false-positive by the Microlife device, 30.4% had sinus rhythm, 35.4% had sinus arrhythmia and 29.1% exhibited premature atrial complexes. With the low prevalence of AF in this population, the positive and negative predictive values of Microlife device for AF detection were 42.4% (95% CI 34.0 to 51.2) and 99.8% (95% CI 99.6 to 99.9), respectively. The overall diagnostic performance of Microlife device to detect AF as determined by area under the curves was 0.90 (95% CI 0.89 to 0.90).

Conclusions In the primary care setting, Microlife WatchBP Home was an effective means to screen for AF, with a reasonable sensitivity of 80.6% and a high negative predictive value of 99.8%, in addition to its routine function of BP measurement. In a younger patient population aged <65 years with a lower prevalence of AF, Microlife WatchBP Home A demonstrated a similar diagnostic accuracy.

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • microlife
  • screening

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors Contributions to the conception or design of the work: CPH, WCK, CDW, CWS.

    Contributions to the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work: all authors.

    Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content: CPH, WCK, CWS.

    Final approval of the version to be published: all authors.

    Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved: all authors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethics Committee, Hong Kong East Cluster, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong SAR.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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