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Preventing atrial fibrillation related stroke

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Preventing atrial fibrillation related stroke

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. Around 1.5 million people in England are estimated to be living with AF, though roughly one third are unaware that they have the condition. Men are more commonly affected than women and the prevalence of AF rises with age. It is anticipated that the number of people with AF will double over the next 20 years as the population ages.

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 (Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes) is it estimated that:

  • Around 12,000 people have AF but are undiagnosed.
  • Around 5,500 people are diagnosed with 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 workstreams 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
  • AF Champions – Berkshire West

Who are we working with?

We work 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.

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For more information, please contact: Hannah Oatley, Clinical Innovation Adoption Manager

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