Every year around 75,000 Americans learn that they have atrial fibrillation (AFib)--the most common type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. While the abnormal rhythm itself isn’t generally serious; abnormal blood flow and strain to the heart can lead to serious medical conditions. These conditions can be deadly—having AFib doubles a person’s risk of death. Download The Facts About AFib to learn more about risk factors, what it means to have AFib, and making the right treatment decision for you or a loved one.
To learn more about how people and the health care system are impacted by atrial fibrillation, visit The Silver Book: Thrombosis. Watch the launch event on-line.
Optimal Treatment Task Force
Anticoagulants—medications that make it less likely to clot—reduce the risk of stroke in AFib patients by as much as 80%. Unfortunately, they are rarely a simple solution. There are new drugs entering the market that will offer more options, but for now warfarin is the most commonly used anticoagulant. At the same time that it lowers stroke risk, it raises bleeding risk. Unintentional injuries and cuts can cause bleeding since the body’s ability to clot is decreased by the drugs. Internal bleeding, or hemorrhaging, can lead to serious problems if it happens in the GI system or the brain.
This means that health care professionals must walk a tightrope when deciding how to treat AFib patients—balancing the risk of stroke with the risk of bleeds. Thankfully there are many tools available to help them do this. These tools walk the health care professional through a list of sorts, assigning points for each risk factor. Their final score helps decide if the risk of stroke outweighs the risk of bleeds—or the other way around.
The problem is that these tools are complicated, not always used by physicians, and missing critical risk factors—like increasing age. This is why the Alliance for Aging Research has formed a task force for optimal treatment. This task force is made up of patient and professional groups who will raise awareness of the disease, push for new treatment tools, and help experts form consensus on what should be in them. Better treatment decisions will not only save lives but will lead to better lives with fewer appointments, hospitalizations, and disabilities. Watch the launch event and read the official press release.
Expert RoundtableIn order to forge consensus about the best treatment tools for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation patients, the Afib Optimal Treatment Task Force convened an expert roundtable in Washington DC on January 18th. To view the agenda and meeting materials read the roundtable briefing book.
The resulting consensus statement makes important recommendations on the use of stroke and bleeding risk tools, the decision to anticoagulate, the incorporation of patient preferences, and more. To read the full statement click on the image below, or read the press release to learn more about the consensus highlights.
A survey of more than 400 geriatricians, internists, and primary care physicians revealed a number of barriers to optimal AFib anticoagulation including confusion when it comes to guidelines and tools, overemphasis of individual factors like frailty and risk of falls, and more.
Read the survey HIGHLIGHTS here
Read the FULL survey results here.
A survey of more than 500 atrial fibrillation patients, ages 65+, from across the nation revealed diagnosis and treatment experiences, information on anticoagulant use, stroke and bleeding risk discussions with health care professionals, and more,
Read the FULL survey results here.
AHRQ Key Questions for Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation Comments
On October 14, 2012, the Task Force members filed comments on key questions related to the Effective Health Care Program's comparative effectiveness review of stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. Read more here.
PQRS Proposed Rule for Revisions to 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Comments
On September 4, 2012, the Task Force members filed comments on CMS' Proposed Rule for Revisions to the 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Read more here.
PCORI National Priorities for Research CommentsOn March 15, 2012, the Task Force members filed comments on PCORI's (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute) National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda. Read those comments here.
AHRQ Effective Health Care Program CommentsOn October 14, 2011, the Task Force members filed comments on AHRQ's key questions related to the EHC CER review of stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. Read more here.
Sign Against StrokeThe Alliance for Aging Research joined the more than 9,000 signess to the Sign Against Stroke Charter. This charter was created to bring a worldwide, unified voice to improving the care and treatment of individuals living with AFib and AFib-related stroke. Add your name to this growing list.
Task Force Members