Purpose: Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia. Its management aims to reduce symptoms and to prevent complications through rate and rhythm control, management of concomitant cardiac diseases and prevention of related complications, mainly stroke. The main objective of Effectiveness, Safety and Costs in Atrial Fibrillation (ESC-FA) study is to analyse the drugs used for the management of the disease in realuse conditions, particularly the antithrombotic agents for stroke prevention. The aim of this work is to present the study protocol of phase I of the ESC-FA study and the baseline characteristics of newly diagnosed patients with atrial fibrillation in Catalonia, Spain. Participants: The data source is System for the Improvement of Research in Primary Care (SIDIAP) database. The population included are all patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation diagnosis registered in the electronic health records during 2007-2012. Findings to date: A total of 22 585 patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation were included in the baseline description. Their mean age was 72.8 years and 51.6% were men. The most commonly prescribed antithrombotics were vitamin K antagonists (40.1% of patients) and platelet aggregation inhibitors (32.9%); 25.3% had not been prescribed antithrombotic treatment. Age, gender, comorbidities and comedication at baseline were similar to those reported for previous studies. Future plans: The next phase in the ESC-FA study will involve assessing the effectiveness and safety of antithrombotic treatments, analysing stroke events and bleeding episodes' rates in our patients (rest of phase I), describing the current management of the disease and its costs in our setting, and assessing how the introduction of new oral anticoagulants changes the stroke prevention in non-valvular atrial fibrillation.