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What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a type of irregular heartbeat and means your heart is not working as well as it could. Public Health England estimates there are 36,183 undiagnosed AF patients within East Midlands. AF is a major cause of stroke, accounting for one in every five strokes. The East Midlands has higher rates of atrial fibrillation than the England average (1.79% compared to 1.71% - March 2016). There are a higher proportion of people aged 50 years and older in East Midlands and AF is more common the older you get.

In 2010, stroke was the 3rd biggest cause of premature death in the UK in terms of the number of years of life lost. EMAHSN, East Midlands Clinical Network, and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the East Midlands are working together to reduce strokes and prevent deaths.

How is atrial fibrillation tested?
Currently, people are tested by checking their pulse by hand - which is effective, but the East Midlands is rolling out the use of electronic testing devices.  These devices are more sensitive for detecting AF and mean fewer patients have to go to hospital for ECG (electrocardiogram) tests. This means patients can be tested at their local GP, quickly and easily.

The devices, made by AliveCor, are compatible with many IOS and Android smartphones and tablets and deliver an accurate reading in 30 seconds. The patient simply places their fingers on the device, which is linked to a smartphone or tablet, and within seconds it identifies if they are at risk of AF, allowing action to be taken to help avoid the risk of suffering a life-threatening stroke.

AF can be treated by drugs called anticoagulants. They increase the time it takes for your blood to form a clot. Without anticoagulation, 5% of patients with AF will have a stroke each year. AF strokes are associated with higher mortality rate, longer hospital stays, with life changing consequences resulting in high expenditure on hospital admissions and social care costs.

I'm a GP - how can I get involved?
We are working with 8 CCGs in the East Midlands initially, with more getting involved as this project develops.  GPs in each CCG area have the chance to sign up to get involved. If you are a GP in any of the CCG areas listed below and want to take part, please complete our AF Expression of Interest Form and someone will get back to you. 
If are currently taking part in the project and have received your devices, please remember to complete the AliveCor app registration form before any recordings are taken.  

The CCG's currently part of the project are:
  • Corby CCG
  • Lincolnshire East CCG
  • Nottingham North & East CCG
  • Nottingham West CCG
  • Nottingham City CCG
  • Rushcliffe CCG
  • South Lincolnshire CCG
  • Southern Derbyshire CCG
Where can GPs or members of the public get resources?
We have created an AF toolkit which includes lots of useful resources and links for patients and GPs all about AF.

For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Project Manager.