OBJECTIVES: To assess the validity of the diagnoses of atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL) for men and women recorded in the Danish National Patient Registry, and to assess the relative distribution of AF and AFL. DESIGN: Review of medical records for incident cases of AF and/or AFL in the Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort study. Participants were enrolled in 1993-97 with 13.6 years of follow-up until 30 December, 2009. RESULTS: The positive predictive value of the combined diagnosis of AF and/or AFL was 92.6% (95% CI 88.8%; 95.2%) with no significant difference between sexes (men 93.7% (133/142), women 90.8% (129/142)). The proportion of AFL either alone or in combination with AF was significantly higher in men than in women (13.5% (18/133) vs. 5.4% (7/129), p =0.03). The positive predictive value of the specified diagnosis of AFL was 57.5% for men (46/80) and 29.6% for women (8/27). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the validity of the diagnosis of AF and/or AFL is high and may be used for registry-based studies. A specified diagnosis of AFL was rarely used and was not reliable to distinguish between cases of AF and AFL.
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