While many have likely heard of atrial fibrillation, or AFib, how many people know what it is or how many people it affects? And more importantly, do people consider the potential implications of AFib, particularly if undiagnosed?
Annually, millions of Americans suffer from AFib, a common type of irregular heartbeat.1 During AFib, the upper chambers of the heart quiver (fibrillate) and do not pump all of the blood to the lower chambers, causing some blood to pool, potentially causing clots to form.2 If the clots break loose they can travel to the brain and lead to a stroke.3 Those with AFib have a five times greater chance of having a stroke than those without the condition, and strokes related to AFib are more likely to be severe than non-AFib- related strokes.4,5,6
In 2018 approximately 7.5 million people in the U.S. were projected to be affected by AFib. Some people with AFib may not know they have it until it is discovered by a healthcare provider, because the condition can have no symptoms.7 As the prevalence of AFib increases with age, those 65 and older are at the greatest risk of being affected by AFib, and roughly 9% of people in this age group have the condition.7 Other risk factors for AFib include diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease (e.g. congestive artery disease, prior heart attacks).8
Because the lives of those affected by AFib-related stroke, and those of their family and friends, may be impacted in a matter of moments, the BMS-Pfizer Alliance believes now is the time to elevate awareness. Through a new initiative, Matter of Moments, the BMS-Pfizer Alliance aims to raise awareness of the AFib-stroke connection and the importance of AFib diagnosis among higher-risk patients aged 65 years and older.
Key areas of focus include:
- What are potential needs related to increasing knowledge around the importance of AFib diagnosis?
- Is AFib typically kept in mind during routine medical care for patients 65 and older?
- While many healthcare providers understand the connection between AFib and stroke, what more can we do to raise awareness in the patient community and general population?
The Matter of Moments initiative will convene and work together with expert physicians and advocacy organizations in the U.S. to raise awareness of the AFib-stroke connection and the importance of diagnosis.
The BMS-Pfizer Alliance believes the moment has arrived to bring these important topics to the forefront and dig deeper.
1Colilla S, et al. Estimates of current and future incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the U.S. adult population. Am J Cardiol. 2013;112:1142–1147.
2American Heart Association. Why Atrial Fibrillation (AF or AFib) Matters. Available at: https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/AboutArrhythmia/Why-AtrialFibrillation-AF-or-AFib-Matters_UCM_423776_Article.jsp?appName=MobileApp.
3National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Atrial Fibrillation. June 11, 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0062932/.
4Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation is an Independent Risk Factor for Stroke. The Framingham Study. Original Contributions. April 1991.
5Lin HJ, Wolf PA, Kelly-Hayes M, et al. Stroke severity in atrial fibrillation. The Framingham Study. Stroke. 1996 Oct;27(10):1760-4.
62014 AHA/ACC/HRS Guideline for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation. http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/64/21/e1.
7CDC, Atrial Fibrillation Fact Sheet. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_atrial_fibrillation.htm.
8Heart Rhythm Society. Risk Factors for Atrial Fibrillation. https://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Heart-Diseases-Disorders/Atrial-Fibrillation-AFib/Risk-Factors-for-AFib. Accessed August 2018.