News

60,000 in capital unaware of stroke risk

Londoners urged to #knowyourpulse

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged Londoners to have a simple pulse rhythm check to identify the most common cause of irregular heartbeat Atrial Fibrillation (AF) that can cause a stroke with 60,000 estimated to be undiagnosed in the capital.

The call comes after the Mayor had a test himself ahead of Global AF Aware Week (20-26 November), which starts today. The Mayor’s message can be viewed below.

Over 150,0000 Londoners are affected by AF and of these an estimated 60,000 remain undiagnosed. Nationally, as the most common type of irregular heartbeat, AF is responsible for approximately 20% of all strokes. Stroke survivors must live with the disabling consequences and treating the condition costs the NHS across England over £2.2 billion each year.

This year’s Global AF Aware Week message is ‘Identifying the Undiagnosed Person with AF’. Londoners are being encouraged to spread the word about irregular heartbeats and urge friends and family – particularly those aged over 65 – to check their pulse and see a GP if it is irregular. Pulse checks can be done manually (a British Heart Foundation video and guide shows how here) or through technology, with irregular rhythms investigated further by healthcare professionals.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“More than 150,0000 Londoners have the most common type of irregular heartbeat, which is called Atrial Fibrillation or AF, and are at higher risk of a stroke. Not everyone with AF has symptoms and a simple pulse rhythm check could save their life.

“I’m urging Londoners to have a free, 30-second pulse check this week during international AF Awareness Week. You can do this at one of the many awareness events happening across the capital this week, or ask your doctor or nurse.”

Professor Gary Ford, Stroke Physician and Chair of the AHSN Network Atrial Fibrillation Group, said:

“More than 60,000 Londoners are unaware they have Atrial Fibrillation which is responsible for 1 in 5 strokes. We have highly effective treatments that reduce the risk of stroke in people with AF.

“During Global AF Aware Week I am urging everyone, but particularly those over 65 to have their pulse rhythms checked. This simple check could prevent a stroke, which can have a devastating impact on their lives.

“I fully support the Mayor of London in his call for Londoners to have a simple check so that we can prevent strokes and ultimately, save lives and prevent long term disability.”

Free drop in pulse rhythm checks are running across London organised by the three Academic Health Science Networks and their partners in GP surgeries, hospitals and community settings. More details can be found here.

Ends

For more information contact the Health Innovation Network media team on 07983 773 859

Notes to editors:

Activities for Global AF Aware Week across London are listed here.

About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart arrhythmia seen in general practice and is a major risk factor for stroke, contributing to 1 in 5 strokes. Many people do not know they have the condition as not everyone experiences symptoms. Across London, it has been estimated that 60,000 people are living with AF undetected. AF can easily be detected by pulse checks and the risk of stroke reduced by starting appropriate treatment.

Members of the public can watch how to check for an irregular pulse rhythm in this easy to follow video produced by the British Heart Foundation Know Your Pulse

Professionals involved in commissioning healthcare can access resources to help them improve detection and treatment for AF here Detect, Protect and Perfect.

About London’s Academic Health Science Networks
As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, AHSNs act as catalysts to create the right conditions for innovation and change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. They work together to speed up innovation in healthcare, helping to save lives, save money and drive economic growth. London has three AHSNs:

Health Innovation Network
The Health Innovation Network is the academic health science network (AHSN) for south London and speeds up the best, evidence-based improvements across the NHS locally. It focuses on diabetes, stroke prevention, healthy ageing, safety and programmes to combat joint pain as well as having a major digital health component. See healthinnovationnetwork.com

Imperial College Health Partners
Imperial College Health Partners is a partnership organisation bringing together NHS providers of healthcare services, clinical commissioning groups and leading universities across North West London. See here for more information about our 20 members. ICHP is also the designated Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for North West London and members of The AHSN Network. See imperialcollegehealthpartners.com

UCLPartners
UCLPartners is an academic health science partnership that brings together people and organisations to transform the health and wellbeing of the population. Working in partnership and at pace, its members from the NHS and higher education support the healthcare system serving over six million people in parts of London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. See uclpartners.com

About Global AF Awareness Week
Organised by the AF Association, this years’ Global AF Aware Week focuses on ‘Identifying the Undiagnosed Person with AF’ with its Detect, Protect, Correct & Perfect campaign. See heartrhythmalliance.org/aa/uk

The AF Association provides support, information and guidance to anyone affected by atrial fibrillation. It works in partnership with patients and clinical experts to advance the education of both the medical profession and the general public on the risks, detection and treatment of AF.

The AF Association website can be found at www.afa.org.uk

Statistics
The statistics are from the NHS’ Size of the Prize England published September 2017 and the AF Association.