Pulse Check Challenge, Reducing Stroke Due to Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Awareness Week runs from 21-28 November 2016 and the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) are inviting 20 GP Practices in Somerset to take part in a ‘Pulse Check Challenge’ to help raise awareness of AF.

The invited practices will be required to offer manual pulse checks to patients over a four week period from 21 November to 09 December to help detect undiagnosed AF.

There are currently over one million people living with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) in the UK. The lifetime risk of getting AF is one in four and that risk approximately doubles with every decade beyond aged 55. AF is the fourth most important risk factor for stroke, behind hypertension, previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) and ischemic heart disease. If left untreated, those with AF are up to five times more likely to have a stroke than the general population.

According to the Stroke Association Information for Somerset CCG there are around 5000 people in Somerset with undiagnosed AF. The easiest way to detect an arrhythmia is to feel the pulse and check whether it is uneven, too fast or too slow.

Everyone found to have an uneven or irregular pulse should be offered a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) to determine the rhythm. AF: How can we do better for Somerset captures this along with other improvement suggestions.

Those practices taking part will receive funding to purchase a ‘WatchBP Home A’ blood pressure monitor, approved by NICE. Outcomes on the use of this will be captured after six months.

For more information contact helen.belben@swahsn.com – Project Manager – AF, SW AHSN.

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