AF and stroke - we can do better

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained adult cardiac arrhythmia. Currently over 1 million people have AF in the UK, with many more thought to have the condition without it yet being diagnosed.

The reality of Atrial Fibrillation

Watch Brenda, Ian, Alan and Philip and hear their own accounts of how living with AF has effected both them and their families.

The facts

  • Only 1/3 of people who have AF-related stroke have been treated with anticoagulants.
  • 25-30% of people with AF are estimated to be undiagnosed.
  • A person with AF has five times the risk of having an AF-related stroke. 

It's clear that more needs to be done to improve the detection and management of Atrial Fibrillation in the UK. So the BHF, Public Health England, AF Association and the Stroke Association formed a partnership to combine our specialist knowledge. 

Together we held the AF and Stroke: we can do better conference on 24 September 2015.

What was the point?

This joint hosted conference was an inspiring day. The predominant aim was to share learning and support professionals working to improve the detection and management of AF in their local population. 

The key objectives of the day were to:

  • illustrate the health and social care impact of AF-related stroke

  • draw on the evidence to improve detection and management of AF for optimal health outcomes

  • discuss and overcome the key challenges in implementing guidance

  • improve understanding and use of data, toolkits and resources

  • share good practice models that have illustrated impact

  • create a platform for learning and networking across the system

  • improve management of AF patients’ stroke risk.

The event successfully brought together a wealth of information, good practice and resources for providers and commissioners with the tools to support improvements along the AF care pathway. 

Missed the event or want to know more?

Relive the event - visit our social media stream live from the day 

Gain the expert knowledge from the specialised conference posters and presentations 

Download a wealth of information from these related resources:

Stroke Association:

AF Association:

Who are our partners?

Public Health England

Public Health Englandbrings together public health specialists from more than 70 organisations into a single public health service. They protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities.

Public Health England logo - AF and stroke partnership

Stroke Association

Stroke Associationis the UK’s leading stroke charity, active across all four nations. Their vision is a world where there are fewer strokes and all those touched by stroke get the help they need.

Stroke Association logo - AF and stroke partnership

AF Association

Atrial Fibrillation Associationis a UK registered charity which focuses on raising awareness of atrial fibrillation by providing information and support materials for patients and medical professionals involved in detecting, diagnosing and managing atrial fibrillation.

AF Association logo - AF and Stroke partnership

The BHF Alliance

The BHF Allianceis a free membership scheme that aims to support those who work with people affected by, or at the risk of developing, cardiovascular disease (CVD). Read more about the benefits of joiningthe BHF Alliancetoday.


A BHF nurse

What next? 

Key national agencies will continue to scope out and develop a population systems approach to support local commissioners and providers to improve detection and management for people with AF.

The national programme aims to help align and set a level of ambition across the AF care pathway, and unblock some of the challenges in the system through key ‘do once’ elements, such as:

  • system leadership and consensus building across stakeholders
  • improve data flows, sharing arrangements across primary and secondary care
  • engagement with local areas to identify and disseminate good practice models, map current commissioning position and scale of need and unmet need
  • improve communications and consistent messages on AF –professional and public facing 
  • recruit populations to report on an agreed AF quality dashboard to enable assessment, comparison and improvement across the system
  • support to strengthen clinical leadership – training and education
  • economic analysis to help inform priority setting and realistic achievement 
  • support the development of an AF community of practice to share good practice, improve collaboration and networking across the system.  

A follow up conference will be delivered in 2016/17, providing an update on the national programme and local developments that have been implemented.