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. NICE have produced resources for STPs and ICSs to help support detection of AF and anticoagulation.

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
Atrial Fibrillation toolkit







This toolkit provides resources and support for commissioners and clinicians working to reduce AF related strokes. Developed by the AHSNs in collaboration with NHS London Clinical Networks, the toolkit provides useful information and support for those commissioning services for treating people with AF nationwide.

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. Eastern AHSN is delivering 500 devices across the region in response to expressions of interest received earlier this year.

Watch the interview with programme manager Amanda Buttery for That’s Cambridge, testing mobile ECG devices to check heart rhythms at Addenbrooke’s Hospital

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

Don’t Wait to Anticoagulate

This initiative is led by the West of England AHSN as part of a joint working agreement with industry and supports primary care to reduce the burden of atrial fibrillation (AF)-related stroke. The website has resources to help healthcare professionals improve anticoagulation services and provide assistance and visual aids to help during patient consultations. It includes the Quality Improvement Toolkit – designed to help you understand how you can make bespoke improvements in AF management and detailed information on anticoagulation medicines.

The short film below also gives guidance on anticoagulation.

© Eastern AHSN