Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalization in patients  older than 65 years of age. Following HF hospitalization approximately 25% of patients are readmitted within 1 month of discharge and more than 50% of patients are readmitted within 6 months.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common comorbidity in patients with HF and it is a common cause of HF exacerbation. However, the majority of patients are in sinus rhythm when they present to hospital with acutely decompensated HF and the cause cannot be identified in 40-50% of patients.

In the PROTECT-HF study, we are hypothesizing that subclinical atrial fibrillation (SCAF) is highly prevalent in patients with HF and is an important cause of HF exacerbation and hospitalization. The proposed study is a non-intervention cohort study to determine the prevalence of SCAF in patients discharged after a hospitalization for HF and define its relationship to HF hospital readmission at 30 days.

Study Type


Study Design

Multicentre, prospective cohort study

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Study Period




Heart & Stroke Foundation

Canadian Stroke Prevention Intervention Network (C-SPIN)

Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Hamilton Health Sciences

McMaster University FHS, Division of Cardiology, Innovation Fund

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