AF AWARE: New Doctors' Tool to Tackle Rising Atrial Fibrillation Threat

AF AWARE campaign launches new tool for primary care physicians

PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 29, 2011 - The AF AWARE (Atrial Fibrillation Awareness And Risk Education) campaign today, at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2011 in Paris, announces the launch of the Atrial Fibrillation in Primary Care (AFIP) tool, developed to help primary care physicians (PCPs) with early diagnosis and optimal management of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

AF is a progressive and chronic disease and the most common sustained abnormal heart rhythm, with over six million people currently affected in Europe.1 In the next 50 years, the prevalence is estimated to at least double1, making it an urgent public health concern due to its links to serious cardiovascular (CV) consequences, including stroke and other CV complications, frequently leading to hospitalization.1

“Research has demonstrated variability in following AF management guidelines, potentially putting the lives of thousands of AF patients at risk and leading to an increased burden on healthcare systems”, said Professor John Camm, Professor of Clinical Cardiology, St George's University, London, UK – and co-author of the AFIP tool. “The availability of new therapies will likely encourage the management of AF in primary care, where early and opportunistic screening could ultimately prevent severe consequences of AF for patients.”

To address the global public health concern, the AF AWARE campaign convened a group of international experts to develop the AFIP tool, which helps bring PCP practice closer to AF management guidelines. The AFIP tool is a resource that helps PCPs identify high-risk patients and diagnose AF earlier, guides PCPs through the first steps of AF management and provides advice for referral to a cardiovascular specialist.

“Early diagnosis of AF reduces the risk of life threatening events/ serious complications”, commented Professor Gregory Lip, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, City Hospital, Birmingham, UK - and co-author of the AFIP tool. “The AFIP tool addresses a previously unmet need to support PCPs in identifying AF patients early and helping them to use existing management guidelines most effectively.”

PCPs play a crucial role in the identification of AF patients, but operate in time-limited settings, which may contribute to a difficulty in diagnosing AF and in the ongoing management of the condition. Dr Carlos Brotons, Head of the Research Unit, Sardenya Primary Health Care Centre, Sant Pau Biomedical Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain - and co-author of the AFIP tool, added: “Primary care physicians often need to refer to lengthy guidelines for the management of multiple conditions. The AFIP tool provides physicians with the key information they need from the AF management guidelines, supporting them in providing timely and optimal care for their patients.”

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) can download the AFIP tool to use at www.AF-AWARE.org, the new website for the AF AWARE campaign, providing the latest information and resources for people living with AF, their caregivers, HCPs, the general public and media.

The AF AWARE campaign, dedicated to gaining greater recognition of AF and its impact as a major international public health concern, sought the input and involvement of international experts to develop the AFIP tool, including cardiologists, primary care physicians, patient and professional organizations:

Co-authors:

 

  • Professor John Camm, Professor of Clinical Cardiology, St George's University, London, UK
  • Professor Gregory Lip, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, City Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  • Dr Carlos Brotons, Head of the Research Unit, Sardenya Primary Health Care Centre, Sant Pau Biomedical Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain
  • Professor Kathryn Taubert, Chief Science Officer, World Heart Federation, Geneva, Switzerland

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The activities of the AF AWARE campaign are supported by funding from both Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Notes to Editor

About Atrial Fibrillation (AF)

AF results from abnormal electrical activity in the upper chambers of the heart (atria), leading to an irregular heart rhythm which prevents the blood from efficiently being pumped toward the rest of the body.1 Common symptoms of AF include palpitations (a rapid, irregular, “flopping” movement or pounding sensation in the chest), shortness of breath, dizziness and feeling of heaviness in the chest.2 Age, obesity, hypertension, myocardial infarction (MI), congestive heart failure (CHF) and valvular heart diseases 3 put patients at increased risk of developing AF. AF itself worsens the prognosis of patients with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or myocardial infarction, and can frequently lead to hospitalization.1,2,4

About the AF AWARE campaign

AF AWARE (Atrial Fibrillation AWareness And Risk Education) is an international awareness campaign, dedicated to gaining greater recognition of atrial fibrillation (AF) and its impact as a major international public health concern. AF AWARE is a collaboration between the World Heart Federation, the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) and the Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA) - all three organizations are founding partners and active participants of the campaign. AF AWARE is supported by funding from both Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim.

About the Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA)

Atrial Fibrillation Association, a member of the Arrhythmia Alliance, is a patient advocacy group committed to improving patient and physician awareness of AF and how detection and management can be improved. To achieve this it is engaged with campaigning work to ensure that healthcare professionals, and the patients in their care, are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure that this focus results in greater detection, improved symptomatic control and a dramatic reduction in embolic stroke and its consequences. Addressing inequalities and inadequacies in: opportunistic screening, patient engagement and empowerment, the importance of symptomatic control and the value of early referral, AFA seeks to ensure improved outcomes and vastly improved patients' quality of life. www.afa-international.org

About the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE)

The Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) is a Europe wide member group for stroke patient organisations. Our vision is to work towards decreasing the number of strokes in Europe and that all those who are touched by stroke get the help and support that they need. We work towards all patients in Europe with stroke having rights of access to a continuum of care from prevention and risk identification, through to emergency response, organised stroke units in acute phase, appropriate rehabilitation and secondary prevention measures.

About the World Heart Federation

The World Heart Federation is dedicated to leading the global fight against heart disease and stroke with a focus on low- and middle-income countries via a united community of more than 200 member organizations. With its members, the World Heart Federation works to build global commitment to addressing cardiovascular health at the policy level, generates and exchanges ideas, shares best practice, advances scientific knowledge and promotes knowledge transfer to tackle cardiovascular disease – the world's number one killer. It is a growing membership organization that brings together the strength of medical societies and heart foundations from more than 100 countries. Through our collective efforts we can help people all over the world to lead longer and better heart-healthy lives. www.worldheart.org

References

1 The Task Force for the Management of Atrial Fibrillation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation, European Heart Journal (2010) 31, 2369–2429. URL: http://www.escardio.org/guidelines-

2 Benjamin E.J. et al., Impact of Atrial Fibrillation on the Risk of Death: The Framingham Heart Study. Circulation 1998;98:946-952

3 Benjamin E.J. et al., Prevention of atrial fibrillation: report from a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute workshop. Circulation 2009;119(4): 606-618

4 Wachtell, K. et al., Angiotensin II receptor blockade reduces new-onset atrial fibrillation and subsequent stroke compared to atenolol, Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2005;45(5):712-719

Contact: Weber Shandwick
Dafni Kokkidi
Tel: +44 7872 060 390
Email: dkokkidi@webershandwick.com

 

 

Posted: September 2011

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