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Winter 2011

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More Afib Awareness Needed

86 Percent of Survey Respondents Want Greater Awareness

By Pam Peters, Managing Editor

Did you know that 15 percent of strokes occur in people who have atrial fibrillation (Afib)? However, according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive® and National Stroke Association, called The Afib Survey To Reveal Opinions, Knowledge and Education gaps (STROKE), awareness of Afib and its link to stroke is much needed. Survey findings show there is a clear lack of understanding by people living with Afib about the link between Afib and stroke.

According to stroke.org, Afib is an irregular heartbeat that is inefficient at pumping blood from the heart chambers. When blood is not completely pumped out of these chambers, it can pool and clot. These clots can then travel from the heart to the brain, where they can potentially lead to a stroke.

Even though it has been shown that people with Afib are five times more likely to have a stroke than those without Afib, approximately one-third of the people in the U.S. who have Afib are still undiagnosed. With proper diagnosis, treatment is available and can be successful in reducing strokes.

To more successfully diagnose and treat Afib, more awareness is necessary. That is why the Facing Afib campaign is helping bring awareness to Afib and its connection to stroke. The website facingafib.com can help those living with Afib with several useful online tools including:

  • Doctor discussion guide
  • Stroke risk assessment questionnaire
  • Stroke risk reduction treatment information

Another downloadable kit is available for people diagnosed with Afib at stroke.org/beatyourodds.

There are additional places online that can help people living with Afib better understand their condition and how it can lead to stroke:

  • stroke.org/afib
  • afibstrokesurvey.com
  • facingafib.com
  • stopafib.org

Survey Reveals Opinions, Education Gaps About Afib and Stroke

Common misunderstandings that many people hold about Afib – and the communication gaps between patients and healthcare professionals – can lead to confusion. The Afib Survey To Reveal Opinions, Knowledge and Education gaps was conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in collaboration with National Stroke Association. The surveyors interviewed 507 people living with Afib and 517 healthcare professionals. The survey illustrates that there are ample opportunities for improvements in Afib education.

Communication Opportunities

  •  49 percent of those surveyed either did not discuss, or did not recall discussing, the link between Afib and stroke with their healthcare professional upon initial diagnosis.
  • 67 percent of those surveyed reported that they would like more information about Afib.

Educational Opportunities

Only 33 percent of those surveyed said that stroke prevention is the most important goal of Afib treatment. However, after reducing the physical symptoms, prevention is the number-one goal of Afib treatment, according to stroke.org.
A mere 47-50 percent of people surveyed 
knew that strokes associated with Afib are 
twice as deadly and twice as disabling as 
non–Afib-related strokes.

Afib’s Impact on Patients

  • 56 percent of those surveyed said that the condition has had a negative impact on 
their lives.
  • 55 percent of those surveyed admitted that Afib has impacted their ability to participate in physical activities.

Pam Peters is Principal Writer and Founder of Words Abound.

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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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