Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Dr. Mark Speechley

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Lorne J. Gula


Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. It is associated with substantial health risks, limited treatment success, and high relapse rates. This chronic condition is difficult to diagnose in general practice due to its transient symptoms or absence of such.

The objective of this research is to map and quantitatively describe the patient’s journey within an episode of illness framework. Electronic medical records were accessed through the DELPHI database. The patient’s lived experience was analyzed with descriptive statistics in terms of the number of physician visits, episode length, medications prescribed, diagnostic investigations ordered, and referrals made. The observed findings were compared to the control group of patients suffering from other chronic conditions. The differences between the two groups were statistically significant, with an overall large effect size.

Atrial fibrillation has important public health implications as it affects one to two persons per hundred psychologically, socially and economically.