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This page provides an overview of the detection and diagnosis of AF.

Challenges with current clinical practice

There are many patients with AF in the UK who have not yet been diagnosed. In 2017 in England alone, there were an estimated 425,000 such patients.1 While some patients have clear symptoms of AF, other patients – up to 40% – are asymptomatic.2 Even when symptoms present, the average delay until AF diagnosis is approximately 2.6 years.3 For many patients, AF is detected only after they have suffered an AF-related stroke or a serious complication.

Improving our ability to 'Detect'

The Detect domain of Detect, Protect, Perfect aims to address the unmet need in the detection and diagnosis of AF, enabling more patients to be identified and ultimately protected against AF-related stroke. Opportunities for improvement that may be implemented in primary care practice include:4

  • Opportunistic screening of those aged over 65
  • Detecting AF by manual pulse checks or using a device
  • Incorporating detection into routine clinical practice or case finding programmes
  • Improving public awareness through campaigns
  • Educating people to monitor their own pulse rhythm

Click here to view ELIQUIS (apixaban) prescribing and adverse event reporting information.

Abbreviations

AF = Atrial Fibrillation

References
  1. Public Health England 2017. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644869/atrial_fibrillation_AF_briefing.pdf. Accessed August 2019.
  2. Xiong Q et al. Int J Cardiol 2015; 191:172–177.
  3. Atrial Fibrillation Association. Atrial Fibrillation: Preventing a Stroke Crisis, 2011. Available at: http://atrialfibrillationassociation.org.uk/app/webroot/files/file/140508-cw-FINAL-The%20AF%20Report.pdf. Accessed August 2019.
  4. London Clinical Networks. AF Toolkit: Detect, Protect, Perfect. Available at: www.londonscn.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/detect-protect-perfect-london-af-toolkit-062017.pdf. Accessed August 2019.

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Job code: 432UK1900440-01
Date of preparation: September 2019

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