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Intensive heart rhythm monitoring to decrease ischemic stroke and systemic embolism-the Find-AF 2 study-rationale and design.

BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most frequent causes of stroke. Several randomized trials have shown that prolonged monitoring increases the detection of AF, but the effect on reducing recurrent cardioembolism, ie, ischemic stroke and systemic embolism, remains unknown. We aim to evaluate whether a risk-adapted, intensified heart rhythm monitoring with consequent guideline conform treatment, which implies initiation of oral anticoagulation (OAC), leads to a reduction of recurrent cardioembolism.

METHODS: Find-AF 2 is a randomized, controlled, open-label parallel multicenter trial with blinded endpoint assessment. 5,200 patients ≥ 60 years of age with symptomatic ischemic stroke within the last 30 days and without known AF will be included at 52 study centers with a specialized stroke unit in Germany. Patients without AF in an additional 24-hour Holter ECG after the qualifying event will be randomized in a 1:1 fashion to either enhanced, prolonged and intensified ECG-monitoring (intervention arm) or standard of care monitoring (control arm). In the intervention arm, patients with a high risk of underlying AF will receive continuous rhythm monitoring using an implantable cardiac monitor (ICM) whereas those without high risk of underlying AF will receive repeated 7-day Holter ECGs. The duration of rhythm monitoring within the control arm is up to the discretion of the participating centers and is allowed for up to 7 days. Patients will be followed for at least 24 months. The primary efficacy endpoint is the time until recurrent ischemic stroke or systemic embolism occur.

CONCLUSIONS: The Find-AF 2 trial aims to demonstrate that enhanced, prolonged and intensified rhythm monitoring results in a more effective prevention of recurrent ischemic stroke and systemic embolism compared to usual care.

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