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At Health Fairs, Student Pharmacists Screen Hundreds for Atrial Fibrillation

February 14, 2020

Student pharmacists who offered atrial fibrillation (AF) screening at health fairs identified possible AF in 2.3% of people screened, all of whom were asymptomatic. Researchers published their findings online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. 

“Patients with AF are at a 5-fold higher risk of stroke, with women having a 2-fold higher risk than men,” researchers wrote. “There are several symptoms associated with AF that may signal a need to screen for arrhythmia; however, AF may also not show any symptoms at all.” 

The study evaluated AF screening and education at 13 student pharmacist-driven health fairs over 6 months. 

With preceptor oversight, student members of the American Pharmacist Association Academy of Student Pharmacists screened a total 697 people, 71% of whom were women, over the study period. Sixteen of the participants, or 2.3% of those screened, received results suggesting possible AF. According to the study, 69% were at moderate-high risk of stroke.

Student pharmacists provided AF education using an American Heart Association patient handout and then assessed participant learning with three multiple-choice questions. Most participants answered each question correctly, researchers reported, with 95% of participants deeming AF screening at health fairs important. 

“By employing a student-driven curricular approach to screening for AF, this study demonstrated that a high number of participants can be screened and educated about AF and its risks within a 6-month period,” researchers wrote. 

Jolynn Tumolo


Anderson JR, Hunter T, Dinallo JM, et al. Population screening for atrial fibrillation by student pharmacists at health fairs [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jan 31]. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020;S1544-3191(20)30003-0. doi:10.1016/j.japh.2019.12.021

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