Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate and can lead to stroke. It is the most common heart rhythm disorder. About 1.4 million people in England have AF; around 2.5% of the population.  Across England about 425,000 people are living with undiagnosed and untreated AF. There are several treatment options recommended in NICE Clinical Guidance, including anticoagulant medicines that alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of a stroke.

AF is a collective priority for England’s 15 AHSNs. Eastern AHSN is working to prevent AF-related stroke and improve health- through better identification and management of people with AF, by:

  • Increasing the detection of AF in line with expected prevalence in the region
  • Reducing the incidence of avoidable AF-related strokes
  • Increasing the proportion of people with AF who are offered, and started, on appropriate treatment

Improving detection of Atrial Fibrillation

This programme aligns with established regional priorities to prevent stroke and improve cardiovascular health in the East of England. We are working with many local partners including NHS England and Public Health England to improve the cardiovascular disease prevention pathway. As part of a national drive to reduce strokes caused by AF, NHS England are supporting the use of mobile ECG devices to detect AF, distributed through the AHSN network. Request a free device through Eastern AHSN here.

Atrial Fibrillation budget impact model

The AF budget impact model from  Imperial College Health Partners assesses each management opportunity in AF to identify any potential deficits in current care, the cost impact on the local health economy, and the number of strokes that could be prevented and lives saved, with improvements to anticoagulation treatment patterns. The model uses published primary care performance data, QOF targets and prevalence estimates to identify how best to improve AF management and treatments, and helps commissioners to estimate the budget impact of interventions within a CCG or AHSN footprint.

Help to manage AF

This short film has been developed to help people, and their family and carers, understand how anticoagulant medicines can meet their needs. It explains clotting and why abnormal clots can form as people age. The different types of medicines are shown, and Jack and his son talk about Jack’s concerns, potential side effects from the medicines and sources of support.

Starting anticoagulation with Jack

© Eastern AHSN