Why is it a priority?
AF is a major cause of stroke with the risk of stroke for a person with AF being around 5 times that of a person with normal heart rhythm. In addition to the higher risk of stroke, strokes caused by AF tend to be more severe with higher mortality and resulting in greater disability. Treatment with anticoagulants such as warfarin and direct anticoagulants (DOACs) significantly reduce the risk of stroke in people with AF, however not all patients who are at risk of an AF stroke are appropriately anticoagulated. Within the Oxford AHSN area is it estimated that around 8300 high risk patients with AF are not currently receiving anticoagulation and that this has the potential to result in 250 preventable strokes per year.
Diagnosis of AF is also an area requiring significant improvement with an estimated 25,000 people across the AHSN region unaware that they have AF.
What are we doing?
Working with local clinical commissioning groups, GPs and anticoagulation service providers to promote best practice and support them in developing their plans for implementing NICE Guideline CG180 on atrial fibrillation. The AHSN acts as a catalyst, bringing together local NHS stakeholders and industry partners to work on shared priorities. Current work streams include:
- Identifying opportunities for AF screening to ensure patients are diagnosed in a timely fashion
- Identifying those patients with known AF who are not being anticoagulated and ensuring they are given appropriate therapy
- Working with local providers to promote new models of care delivery to enhance access to anticoagulation services
Who are we working with?
We are working with a diverse range of partners including CCGs in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, Industry Partners including Bayer and Pfizer and voluntary sector partners including the Stroke Association and the AF association.