Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the commonest sustained arrhythmia in the UK affecting one million patients. It is associated with increased mortality, morbidity and increased healthcare costs largely as a result of a five-fold increase in cardioembolic stroke. Prompt recognition of this condition coupled with accurate diagnosis utilising ECG acquisition is critical in ensuring patients can be risk-stratified and anticoagulated appropriately. However, up to a third of these patients are undiagnosed and hence are at a potentially greater risk of stroke.
Nationally, stroke prevention related to AF is a high-priority area with novel and inspirational initiatives to radically and swiftly improve outcomes. Improved detection and robust ECG diagnosis of AF are essential foundations that any given stroke prevention strategy has to be built on.
This module is based on Ealing CCG’s vision to improve stroke outcomes. As part of their strategy they commissioned:
ECG training for primary care with ongoing and unrestricted support from a local secondary care champion
A community-based cardiology service to embed specialist care within the GP surgeries of Ealing
A proven educational programme that had previously resulted in reductions in AF-related strokes in the West Midlands
This module complements a further module entitled 'ECG interpretation and getting it right'