AFFECT-EU progress in its first 18 months
AFFECT-EU started in January 2020 with the involvement of 26 international Consortium partners. AFFECT-EU`s major goal is the development of a risk-based, accurate, and ready for implementation atrial fibrillation (AF) screening algorithm, using digital devices, for early AF detection in the community. To facilitate this, a large set of variables and biomarkers needs to be collected and harmonised, for which we set up a screening strategy and refined it through population data analysis.
In the early stages of the project, we started developing the AFFECT-EU database by including well-powered, large-scale clinical AF screening trial information for data harmonisation. We also integrated information of multiple smaller trials/studies across Europe to establish the AFFECT-EU screening strategy. Additionally, the project developed a codebook and a data catalogue. A merged AFFECT-EU database will have baseline data from electrocardiograms, basic demography (age, sex, etc.), medical history, and outcomes of AF detection and anticoagulation on all screenees.
Contemporaneously, the AFFECT-EU Consortium refined the screening strategy and searched for markers for risk stratification in the population to further improve AF screening. We developed a catalogue of AF-related health determinants within the European population cohorts (MORGAM/BiomarCaRE) and processed the data harmonization that has been ongoing from the beginning. We conducted a first review of available outcome trials, specific outcomes, and characteristics to develop a first draft to perform a patient-meta-analysis. In a first step, the statisticians replicate the results of the individual trials to ensure data validity. This desk research mapping exercise was followed by review of economic evaluation literature of AF screening, and literature study of contemporary data sources and AF screening.
During the last 18 months we held three online consortium meetings with a mean attendance of 70 participates. Consortium partners participated in major (online) international conferences and symposia over the last 18 months to present and disseminate the project objectives and already achieved project results. Overall, the consortium published 30 peer reviewed articles in relevant journal in this period. Through its project management plan, AFFECT-EU achieved all its aims foreseen for its first period.