Could screening prevent one in ten strokes?

AF is atrial fibrillation, which is essentially your heart, rather than beating regularly, it beats irregularly, irregularly. And around 7% of people over 65 have it, and it increases the risk of stroke five-fold. The cost of that in Europe, is around 10 billion Euros per year. If screening could find people with atrial fibrillation and they could be offered anticoagulants it might reduce their risk of stroke and that might improve their quality of life, their length of life and reduce the cost to the health system. There are a number of different ways that you might want to test for atrial fibrillation. Screening for pulse, when people come into the surgery is quick and simple and relatively cheap. But we know that it misses people, that’s the thing. One of the approaches that we’re using, is a screening tool, that’s about as big as a mobile phone. patients can take it away, for a couple of weeks. They can test themselves, just by putting their thumbs on the device and it measure their heart trace We’re in the pilot phase at the moment, or the feasibility phase. And we’re working with practices in the Eastern Region to test the feasibility of the screening programme. And the feasibility of the study to evaluate it. This gives us an extra dimension, to check. This is about clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness, of using this type of device. And that’s the answer that will be of use around the world.

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