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Atrial Fibrillation, a silent epidemic

Posted by LumiraDx Care Solutions in Blog
On 23 November 2017

18650 people with undiagnosed AF

We are helping to raise awareness about Atrial Fibrillation (AF) as part of the AF Association – Global AF Awareness Week 20–26 November 2017. So we’ve brought together some key information and resources on how AF can be detected.

What is AF?1

AF is an anomaly in the heart rhythm which can cause an irregular and often very fast heart rate.

In AF, a chaotic electrical activity develops in the walls of the atria, the upper chambers of the heart. This activity overrides the sinus node, a group of cells that have the capacity to produce electrical impulses which contract the heart and help maintain a steady, efficient rhythm to pump blood. In AF that normal, steady rhythm is disrupted. The atria instead begins to quiver with a shallow, irregular but very fast rhythm which can lead to blood pooling and clots.

AF is associated with heart failure, stroke, poor mental health, reduced quality of life and death.

Click here and here to find out more.

Five facts about AF

  • AF is the most common heart arrhythmia2
  • Risk of stroke increases by 500% for people with AF3
  • At 40, 1 in 4 people are at risk of developing AF4
  • AF-related stroke can be prevented with appropriate anticoagulation therapy5
  • AF can be detected with a simple pulse check5

AF in numbers5,6

  • Every 15 seconds someone suffers from an AF-related stroke
  • About 1.5 million people in the UK have AF and over 16 million worldwide
  • Just in the South West, there is an estimated 18,650 people with undiagnosed Atrial Fibrillation (AF) in the South West7
  • AF and AF-related illness costs the NHS over £2.2 billion each year

Detecting AF

Know Your Pulse

Pulse screening has been proven as the most cost effective strategy in detecting undiagnosed AF in people over 658. In the video below Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England National Medical Director explains why it is important to know your own pulse.

Learn how to take your pulse with this video below.

Stroke risk calculator

The Atrial Fibrillation Association and Anticoagulation Europe (UK) have put together a stroke risk calculator to raise awareness and help present AF-related stroke.

What can I do to help?

There are many things you can do to help raise awareness for AF. Here at LumiraDx Care Solutions we are hosting a coffee and cake morning to raise awareness about AF in our own staff and their families.

Fundraise and donate

How about hosting an AF awareness activity in your health care centre, community group or workplace? You can download an activity pack from the AF Associations website here.

Find information about how to donate here.

More information and resources about AF

If you would like to find out more information about AF and what initiatives are available, you can find below a list of helpful resources.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share – another great way to help us raise awareness.

References

1 Atrial Fibrillation Preventing a Stroke Crisis. ‘Chapter 1 – What is AF?’ Last accessed: 15 November 2017. Available at: http://www.preventaf-strokecrisis.org/report/chapter1/

2 Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation Initiative. ‘One year on – Why are patients still having unnecessary AF-related strokes?’ April 2016, p. 4. Last accessed: 12 September 2017. Available at: http://www.abpi.org.uk/Documents/Embargo9May_ABPI_OneYearOn_FINALREPORT.~pdf#search=One%2520year%2520on%2520why%2520are%2520patients

3 Atrial Fibrillation Association and Anticoagulation Europe UK. ‘The AF Report Atrial Fibrillation: Preventing A Stroke Crisis.’ Published: 2011, p. 8.

4 Lloyd-Jones DM, Wang TJ, Leip EP et al. ‘Lifetime risk for development of atrial fibrillation: the Framingham Heart Study.’ Circulation 2004:110:1042–6. Originally published: 30 August 2004.

5 Atrial Fibrillation Association. ‘Get involved: AF Association Global AF Aware Week 20-26 November 2017’. Last accessed: 15 November 2017. Available at: http://www.heartrhythmalliance.org/afa/uk/af-aware-week

6 South West Academic Health Science Network. ‘Atrial Fibrillation.’ Last accessed: 15 November 2017. Available at: https://www.swahsn.com/improvement/spread-and-adoption/atrial-fibrillation/

7 Public Health England, ‘Atrial fibrillation prevalence estimates in England: Application of recent population estimates of AF in Sweden.’ Published August 2017. PHE publications gateway number: 2014778

8 Moran PS, Teljeur C, Ryan M et al. ‘Systematic screening for the detection of atrial fibrillation’. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016:6: CD009586. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009586.pub3.

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Posted by LumiraDx Care Solutions

LumiraDx Care Solutions is the home of INRstar, the UK’s market-leading anticoagulation clinical decision support software (CDSS) and engage, the patient app, which offers a range of self-care programmes for long-term conditions. engage was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best Healthcare App category of the Building Better Healthcare Awards, November 2017.

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