Routine Pulse Checks Could Prevent Thousands from Avoidable Death and Disability Says UK Heart Rhythm Charity, Arrhythmia Alliance.
Heart Rhythm Week is 6 to 12 June 2011: Arrhythmia Alliance, The Heart Rhythm Charity, is leading the Putting Pulse into Practice campaign for the inclusion of simple pulse checks into the NHS' Health Check program so that thousands can be saved from avoidable death, disability and poor health.
Sudden cardiac arrest and atrial-fibrillation-mediated strokes can strike anyone without warning. These treatable, but often undiagnosed, heart problems shatter millions of lives in the UK every year following unexpected death or sudden disability of friends and loved ones.
Yet this tragic situation could be in many case prevented by a free, quick and simple pulse check with which GPs can detect potentially fatal heart rhythm disorders. Heart rhythm disorders (cardiac arrhythmias) result from abnormal electrical activity in the heart. They are the leading cause of death in the UK and affect more than two million Britons. Moreover, for many arrhythmias there are widely-available and effective treatments about which vast numbers of undiagnosed patients will only learn once it's too late.
President of Arrhythmia Alliance, Professor A John Camm said, "Atrial Fibrillation is of epidemic proportions and is only going to get worse. It's a simple fact that AF and other arrhythmias can be detected by introducing routine pulse checks. An irregular heartbeat that is detected early can be well-treated to prevent stroke and other complications. We call today for immediate action."
Authoritative estimates suggest that nearly half of all people with AF are undiagnosed. The simplicity of detecting these patients will be demonstrated at Pulse Check events that will be hosted by dozens of patient and professional groups during Heart Rhythm Week throughout the UK.
To support the thousands of events in the UK, Arrhythmia Alliance has developed a range of educational and awareness resources, including a Pulse Check Guide, poster, film and an iPhone Pulse Check app so that people can easily check their own pulse and encourage others to do so.
A heartbeat that is irregular or persistently fast or slow (outside 60-100 beats per minute) should be checked by a GP. A pulse check is the easiest way to detect a potential heart rhythm problem before a catastrophic event such as a stroke or sudden cardiac arrest.
Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder of Arrhythmia Alliance said, "We are calling for pulse checks to be included within NHS Health Check, for everyone over the age of 40 years. Pulse checks are a cost-free way to save thousands from death, disability and poor health arising from heart rhythm disorders. If pulse checks were introduced into GP care many more heart rhythm disorders could be identified. Preventive action can save lives especially for people who suffer with AF the most common heart rhythm disorder, AF. The increasing prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation now means that we all have more than a 1 in 4 life time risk of developing the arrhythmia. Well-managed AF would save the NHS millions of pounds."
Why should you Know Your Pulse
Increasing prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation (nearly 2% of the general population) now means that we all have more than a 1 in 4 life time risk of developing AF.
200,000 newly diagnosed AF patients per year in the UK, and this is rising due to an aging population and increased numbers surviving conditions which predispose them to AF.
The benefits of being pulse aware
Reduce NHS costs caused by mis-diagnosis and inappropriate treatment of arrhythmia patients.
Reduce the number of strokes caused by atrial fibrillation.
An easy, low cost and high impact way to detect potential arrhythmias and promote early treatment.
The simplest way to detect an arrhythmia is to Know Your Pulse.
1. Arrhythmia Alliance has a number of patients across the country who are willing to be interviewed by the media about their arrhythmias. There are also have a number of medical professionals and heart specialists who are willing to speak on A-A's behalf.
2. A-A's founder, Trudie Lobban MBE, A-A's President Prof John Camm and other medical experts will be available for interviews.
3. For more information, please contact Joanna Fearnley on 01789 451823 or Joanna@heartrhythmcharity.org.uk
4. Our websites are www.knowyourpulse.org or www.heartrhythmweek.org
5. The following football clubs/managers have endorsed the week: Crystal Palace, Derby County, Doncaster Rovers, Nottingham Forest, Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield Utd, Norwich City
6. The following major golf clubs have endorsed A-A's campaign: St Andrews Golf Club, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Cruden Bay Golf Club, Gullane Golf Club, Scotland, Seacroft Gold Club, Lincolnshire, Nefyn & District Golf Club, North Wales, Royal Belfast Golf Club, Northern Ireland.
A-A's celebrity backers/patrons include Sir Roger Moore, Sir Elton John, Tony Blair and Bill Beaumont, all of whom have been affected by cardiac arrhythmia.