Check your heartbeat in 30 seconds at your local hospital this Friday

Cambridgeshire residents are invited to check their heart rhythm and learn more about heart health and stroke prevention with health professionals for National Stroke Awareness Month.

If you are visiting someone or attending an appointment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital on Friday, head down to the outpatients department opposite Lloyds pharmacy between 9.30am – 3.00pm and have a free heart rhythm test while you wait – you only need 30 seconds to take the test on a mobile ECG device.

As part of a national rollout of mobile ECG devices, Eastern Academic Health Science Network (Eastern AHSN) is providing them to health services in the eastern region to improve detection of atrial fibrillation (AF) – a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, and is responsible for about 20% of all strokes.

Members of the Stroke Prevention Team at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUHFT) will be running a stand with support from Eastern AHSN to help provide heart health monitoring and advice for National Stroke Awareness Month in May, and gearing up for World Heart Rhythm Week in June.

Nick Mills, Stroke Prevention Nurse at CUHFT said: “We invite any patients, carers and visitors, particularly those over 65 and most at risk, to come and visit us in Addenbrooke’s outpatients department. If you have any worries, have experienced palpitations or think you may have an irregular heart rhythm – which can be a sign of heart disorders- please take the opportunity to pop over for a quick chat with our team and get an ECG check.  No appointment is needed, plus it’s a free test which will only take 30 seconds, and it could save your life!”

Helping Addenbrooke’s staff for National Stroke Awareness Month and World Heart Rhythm Week, Eastern AHSN is also working with Clinical Commissioning Groups and GP practices across the region to ensure support for stroke prevention is available for Cambridgeshire residents. Mobile ECG devices can help NHS staff detect an irregular heartbeat in just 30 seconds, and can save lives by preventing strokes for hundreds of people through detection and appropriate treatment.

Dr Amanda Buttery, Atrial Fibrillation Programme Lead for Eastern AHSN said: “More than 40,000 people throughout the east of England are unaware they have irregular heart rhythms and of the dangers that this can pose to their health, including the risk of stroke. You only need 30 seconds to check your heart rhythm with these mobile ECG devices are small and easy-to-use with no gels or wires, so NHS staff can use them with people at risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke in clinics or on home visits. So many organisations are getting involved by holding pulse and rhythm checks for World Heart Rhythm week to raise awareness about heart conditions that can be effectively treated. The excellent free resources from the Arrhythmia Alliance are a great support to those holding awareness activities in their local communities.”

World Heart Rhythm Week will take place from 4-10 June. This annual event is organised by the Arrhythmia Alliance and aims to promote effective diagnoses and treatment of heart arrhythmia (a disorder affecting the rhythm of the heartbeat). Throughout the week, charities and health professionals will be work together to raise awareness of heart arrhythmia amongst health professionals and the public. The theme for 2018 is ‘Take Fainting to Heart’, highlighting that for some, fainting may be the first indication of a heart rhythm disorder. More information and resources to support awareness raising are available to download from the campaign website and you can join the social media thunderclap and conversation at #HeartRhythmWeek.

Early detection and diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation is essential to access appropriate treatment including anticoagulation therapy to avoid preventable stroke. Help promote and raise awareness with #AtrialFibrillation. The Know Your Pulse campaign encourages everyone to be aware of their pulse rate so they can detect any irregularity and seek medical attention. Checking your pulse is quick and easy to do, use the video guide here provided by the Arrhythmia Alliance to help you.

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