Researchers have identified two biomarkers that could help in the diagnosis of a heart condition that raises the risk of stroke. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance, affecting around 1.6m people in the UK. But it is often only detected after someone has had a stroke. The British Heart Foundation said the study could pave the way towards better detection of people with AF and targeted treatment. At the moment, an electrocardiogram (ECG) which measures the electrical activity of your heart, is usually used to screen patients for atrial fibrillation. This study, by researchers at the University of Birmingham, found that three clinical risk factors and two biomarkers had a strong connection with AF. Those most at risk of the condition were older, male and had a high BMI. Lead author Yanish Purmah said: "The biomarkers we have identified have the potential to be used in a blood test in community settings such as in GP practices to simplify patient selection for ECG screening." The research was carried out by scientists from the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham's College of Medical and Dental Sciences and is published in the European Heart Journal.