January 16, 2013

Detection and treatment of dangerous atrial fibrillation is vital

BHF nurseA new blood pressure measuring device that can also detect a dangerous heart condition has been backed by the health watchdog.

New guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) supports the use of the ‘WatchBP Home A’ device by healthcare professionals in primary care to opportunistically detect atrial fibrillation (AF) during measurement of blood pressure.

AF is one of the most common types of abnormal heart rhythm and a major cause of stroke if left untreated.

Any device that aids in earlier detection of atrial fibrillation should be welcomed

The guidance also recommends that while the device should be considered for use on people with suspected high blood pressure, those with suspected atrial fibrillation should have an electrocardiogram (ECG) in line with other NICE guidelines.

Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “This new device won’t replace electrocardiograms but any device that aids in earlier detection of atrial fibrillation should be welcomed.

“Atrial fibrillation is a potentially dangerous condition that affects roughly 1 in 100 people in the UK and can increase four-fold the risk of a stroke. With appropriate treatment that risk can be substantially reduced so early diagnosis is vital.”

Our life-saving research

One of the top professors in the field, Barbara Casadei, has been working at Oxford University for 20 years and has now received over £1.9 million from us to investigate the causes of atrial fibrillation.

Barbara isn’t just a research scientist; she’s a trained clinician working with patients in the field and also our newest BHF Chair. Professor Casadei’s work could lead to new ways of preventing and treating atrial fibrillation.

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