Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common irregular heart rhythm (also known as arrhythmia). The risk of stroke is increased almost 500% in people with atrial fibrillation. Yet it is often not detected until a serious complication such as a stroke or heart failure develops.
Over 17 million people in Europe, China and the United States alone are living with AF.
One in six people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime.
But together we can make a difference. The Global AF Patient Charter has been developed independently by a steering committee of patient organisations, and over 90 patient groups and medical societies around the world have rallied around the Charter and endorsed it. Bayer HealthCare has had no input into the content of the Global AF Patient Charter.
Sign the AF Patient Charter to show your support for raising awareness of AF and the need to prevent AF-related stroke through earlier diagnosis, better education and timely access to appropriate treatment and care.
The Global AF Patient Charter has been developed independently by a steering committee of patient organisations, the activities of which have been coordinated by a secretariat funded by Bayer Healthcare. Bayer HealthCare has had no input into the content of the Global AF Patient Charter.
The Global Atrial Fibrillation Patient Charter:
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is one of the most important risk factors for stroke. People with AF are at increased risk from blood clots and are five times more likely to have a stroke compared to the general population. AF accounts for 20% of all ischemic strokes. AF-related strokes are more severe, cause greater disability and have a worse prognosis than strokes in patients without AF. Many AF-related strokes could be prevented by earlier diagnosis, access to appropriate treatment and improved management. Identifying and treating people with AF early will save lives and costs to healthcare providers and national governments.
This Charter recommends clear solutions that policymakers, healthcare providers, payers and national governments can implement to improve the lives of people with AF and at risk for AF-related stroke.
Early detection saves lives. Early diagnosis, followed by appropriate medical management, can improve the outlook for people living with AF. It can also lead to savings for national governments and healthcare providers. Pulse checks are a quick, simple and extremely low-cost way to detect if someone may have AF.
- We call on national governments to implement public information campaigns that raise awareness of the early signs of AF, the risk factors of stroke, and the importance of pulse checks backed up with readily available AF education and information materials.
Stroke prevention should be a greater priority for governments. Strokes, including AF-related strokes, are preventable; when they occur, appropriate management can greatly reduce the associated personal, social and economic burdens.
- We call on national governments to make stroke and AF-related stroke prevention and care a national healthcare priority. We recommend national stroke registries be put in place to systematically and accurately record the incidence, prevalence and outcomes for people with AF-related strokes.
Improved diagnosis and treatment of people who live with AF can prevent AF-related strokes and offer better outcomes if stroke occurs. Implementing guidelines is one way that healthcare organizations can improve healthcare and reduce cost.
- We call on healthcare providers to implement widely accepted clinical guidelines on the treatment of AF and AF-related stroke such as those developed by prominent medical societies including the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, European Society of Cardiology
and Heart Rhythm Society.
Enhancing knowledge and practices in the healthcare workforce will improve prevention, detection and management of AF and AF-related strokes. Awareness of heart rhythm disorders among many health professionals needs to be improved to ensure that disorders are diagnosed and treated effectively.
- We call on medical colleges and healthcare providers to ensure continued professional education about the diagnosis, treatment and aftercare of people with AF is mandatory for general practitioners.
- We call on health professionals to strengthen collaboration between primary and secondary providers to make sure patients receive appropriate treatment throughout the care pathway.
Innovative technologies that improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of people with AF or at risk of AF-related stroke must be made appropriately available at the earliest opportunity. Advances that lead to reduction in hospitalization and strokes as well as improvements in quality of life and long-term cardiac health in AF patients are urgently needed.
- We call on national governments to increase access to immediate emergency care and specialist stroke units where the newest technologies are available.
- We call on payers to consider evidence that combines robust clinical data with evidence of the impact on people affected by AF to make healthcare decisions that reflect the needs of those people.
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