New afib research from Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, demonstrates the importance of screening for atrial fibrillation.
Screening for asymptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF or afib) in people aged 65 and over and treating it with anticoagulant medications could prevent many thousands of strokes worldwide each year, says a top-level panel of experts in today’s issue of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.
About 10 percent of ischemic strokes are caused by AF that is first detected at the time of stroke. Asymptomatic AF which underlies these strokes is not uncommon and can be easily detected by simply taking the pulse, or by handheld ECGs that provide a diagnosis in less than a minute.
Statistics from the World Heart Federation show 15 million people have a stroke each year, nearly six million die, and another five million are left permanently disabled.
“Widespread screening for asymptomatic atrial fibrillation in people aged 65 years and above could cost-effectively reduce strokes and their associated disability, and help save lives,” says Hills. “However, this is not yet widely recommended in guidelines.
The White Paper calls for governments worldwide to introduce screening for all older people, at age 65 or possibly older. Programs could be run through GPs, pharmacies, or in the community, and could be carried out with pulse checking, a blood pressure monitor or, ideally, a handheld ECG device, the best tool for rapidly offering a firm AF diagnosis.
AfibAlert® is one such handheld device that gives instant feedback with medical-grade accuracy and is FDA cleared for clinical and in-home uses. Find out more about how AfibAlert® provides quick and accurate screening in any type of environment.
The White Paper, Screening for Atrial Fibrillation, A Report of the AF-SCREEN International Collaboration, has 60 contributing authors: Circulation May 9th 2017 issue 19; Vol 135