The prevalence, management, and thirty-day outcomes of symptomatic atrial fibrillation in a Tanzanian emergency department.



Data describing atrial fibrillation (AF) care in emergency centres (ECs) in sub-Saharan Africa is lacking. We sought to describe the prevalence and outcomes of AF in a Tanzanian EC.


In a prospective, observational study, adults presenting with chest pain or shortness of breath to a Tanzanian EC were enrolled from January through October 2019. Participants underwent electrocardiogram testing which were reviewed by two independent physician judges to determine presence of AF. Participants were asked about their medical history and medication use at enrollment, and a follow-up questionnaire was administered via telephone thirty days later to assess mortality, interim stroke, and medication use.


Of 681 enrolled patients, 53 (7.8%) had AF. The mean age of participants with AF was 68.1, with a standard deviation (sd) of 21.1 years, and 23 of the 53 (43.4%) being male. On presentation, none of the participants found to have AF reported a previous history of AF. The median CHADS-VASC score among participants was 4 with an interquartile range (IQR) of 2-4. No participants were taking an anticoagulant at baseline. On index presentation, 49 (92.5%) participants with AF were hospitalised with 52 (98.1%) participants completing 30-day follow-up. 18 (34%) participants died, and 5 (9.6%) suffered a stroke. Of the surviving 31 participants with AF and a CHADS-VASC score ≥ 2, none were taking other anti-coagulants at 30 days. Compared to participants without AF, participants with AF were more likely to be hospitalised (OR 5.25, 95% CI 2.10-17.95, p < 0.001), more likely to die within thirty days (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.03-3.50, p = 0.031), and more likely to suffer a stroke within thirty days (OR 5.91, 95% CI 1.76-17.28, p < 0.001).


AF is common in a Tanzanian EC, with thirty-day mortality being high, but use of evidence-based therapies is rare. There is an opportunity to improve AF care and outcomes in Tanzania.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Oyediran, Isaac O, Sainikitha Prattipati, Francis M Sakita, Godfrey L Kweka, Tumsifu G Tarimo, Timothy Peterson, Zak Loring, Alexander T Limkakeng, et al. (2021). The prevalence, management, and thirty-day outcomes of symptomatic atrial fibrillation in a Tanzanian emergency department. African journal of emergency medicine : Revue africaine de la medecine d'urgence, 11(4). pp. 404–409. 10.1016/j.afjem.2021.07.002 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Zak Loring

Assistant Professor of Medicine

I am a cardiac electrophysiologist specializing in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders and management of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs). My research utilizes signal processing of electrocardiographic data and novel analytic techniques to better phenotype patients and identify those for whom interventional electrophysiology procedures may be most beneficial. This includes predicting which patients with left bundle branch block may benefit from early cardiac resynchronization therapy or conduction system pacing. I also analyze population level data to identify patients at high risk for adverse sequelae of rhythm disorders who may benefit from early intervention.


Alexander Tan Limkakeng

Professor of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Alexander T. Limkakeng, Jr., MD, MHSc, FACEP is a Professor of Emergency Medicine, Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Director of the Acute Care Research Team, and Director of the Resident Research Fellowship for the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Limkakeng has served as chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Research Committee, and been the Course Director of the ACEP Research Forum from 2016-2018, the largest emergency medical research platform in the nation. He is also the Assistant Director of ACEP’s Emergency Medicine Basic Research Skills course. He was elected to the Nominating Committee of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine.

As a researcher, Dr. Limkakeng has led multiple clinical trials and interdepartmental sponsored projects and is author on over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts. These include studies in emergency conditions such as COVID-19, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, heart failure, thrombosis, stroke, envenomations, and septic shock. His research has been funded by grants and contracts totaling over $9 million dollars. He has lectured internationally on acute coronary syndrome, responsible conduct of research, design of clinical trials, and precision medicine in emergency care. He has led Duke’s involvement in NIH-funded research networks and in industry-funded work that led to FDA approval for multiple high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays and point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic tests. He has servesd as Co-PI for the Duke U24 Hub in the NIH Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net) (1U24NS114416) and now serves as a co-PI on the Duke U24 Hub award (1U24NS129498) in the NIH Strategies to Innovate Emergency Care Clinical Trials (SIREN) Network and in the NIH NINDS Strokenet network (1U24NS135250)

His personal research interest is finding new ways to diagnose acute coronary syndrome. In particular, he is interested in novel biomarkers and precision medicine approaches to this problem. The common element throughout this work is a focus on time-sensitive health conditions.

Gerald Bloomfield

Associate Professor of Medicine

Gerald Bloomfield, MD, MPH, joined the faculty in Medicine and Global Health after completing his Cardiovascular Medicine fellowship training at Duke University Medical Center and Duke Clinical Research Institute. Bloomfield also completed the Duke Global Health Residency/Fellowship Pathway and a Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellowship. He received his medical education, internal medicine residency and Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University. Bloomfield leads a longstanding research and capacity building program on cardiovascular global health which includes work in under-resourced communities in the US and a number of low- and middle-income country settings.

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