Early detection of south Londoners with undiagnosed Atrial Fibrillation ‘saves 102 lives’ over last four years

Katherine Johnston (20 November, 2020)

More than 400 strokes have been averted with the help of quick treatment

28819(Image: stock)

A push for early detection of irregular heart rhythms has prevented over a hundred deaths and 400 strokes, according to new NHS data.

Southwark-based Health Innovation Network says identifying patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) has saved 102 lives and prevented 408 strokes over the last four years.

Patients have been picked up early through on-the-spot checks in GP surgeries, care homes, and clinics in community spaces from churches, mosques and temples. 

AF is the most common type of irregular heartbeat with around 200,000 developing the condition each year in the UK. Early detection and blood-thinning medication can reduce the risk of suffering a stroke by two thirds.

Oliver Brady, Programme Director at the Health Innovation Network, said: “A stroke can be devastating both physically and psychologically for patients and their families. 

“Yet with the new digital tools available we are able to detect and treat causes such as AF and ensure that lives are not lost and people with the condition can continue to live normal lives.

 “The network will continue working with its local partners to proactively go into high impact settings to carry out these vital health checks.”

 Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of Oxford Academic Health Science Network and Consultant Stroke Physician said: “Identifying people who have AF and ensuring they are provided with the most appropriate anticoagulant therapy can significantly reduce their risk of having a stroke.

 “The work we have undertaken with our partners in primary care, alongside others in both the NHS and charity sector, has prevented thousands of people having a stroke. 

“The latest data also shows that these measures have resulted in significant cost saving to the NHS and social care, with £158 million and £105 million saved respectively.”

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