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Arrhythmia Alliance

World Heart Rhythm Week (June 6th – 12th) is dedicated to promoting the awareness of how to Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect all heart rhythm disorders.

This year World Heart Rhythm Week falls between 6th to 12th June. Since 2004, when Arrhythmia Alliance successfully lobbied for a new Chapter on Arrhythmias and Sudden Cardiac Death in the National Service Framework (NSF) for Coronary Heart Disease, the week has been synonymous with activities across the globe. From pulse checks in Perth – to an arrhythmia information bus in India – the aim of this year’s event is to raise awareness of how to Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect heart rhythm disorders – a condition which doctors deal with every day. We are encouraging everybody to take on The Pulse Check Challenge during this Week in order to make the public more aware of their pulse and heart rhythm.

The message we wish to put across is that being aware of your pulse is important because it may indicate an abnormal heart rate or rhythm. It is best to take someone’s pulse at various points throughout the day (before and after various activities). It is normal for a person’s pulse rate to change during the day depending on what activity they are doing. To get a baseline pulse and normal rhythm, try taking their pulse when they wake in the morning and before going to bed. A normal pulse rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. There are normal reasons why someone’s pulse may be slower or faster. This may be due to age, medications, caffeine, level of fitness, or illnesses, including heart conditions, stress and anxiety. We would like people to understand how to take their pulse, what is normal and when they should seek advice.

At the House of Commons, last week, Arrhythmia Alliance, the UK’s leading heart rhythm charity called on MPs, Healthcare Professionals and pharmacists to work together with patients to ensure the implementation of the NICE guidance (CG180) on the management of AF (Atrial Fibrillation), and dramatically reduce the number of debilitating and life-threatening AF-related strokes across the UK. Professor Richard Schilling, Consultant Cardiologist, Barts Health NHS Trust & Trustee of AF Association said, “We wouldn’t get on board an aircraft if we knew that the pilot didn’t follow the agreed flight guidance, and yet here we are in the UK, with a proven way to manage people with AF, with cost-effective therapies and treatments, approved for use by the NHS, not being adhered to – which is leading to many people suffering a debilitating or life-threatening AF-related stroke, this has to change, now.

My colleague, Arrhythmia Alliance Founder, Trudie Lobban MBE comments “Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide; one in four people in the UK alone aged over 40 will develop AF. The impact of an AF-related stroke is devastating on the individual, their families and carers, and yet we have proven, cost-effective practice

of how we can prevent AF-related strokes. All those involved in the management of people with AF MUST work together to prevent these unnecessary AF-related strokes and save lives.” Following a recent Freedom of Information request, Arrhythmia Alliance was disappointed to learn that most of the critical recommendations from CG180 had not been taken up by more than half of all CCGs.

We would like to dedicate this year’s World Heart Rhythm Week to promoting the awareness of how to Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect all heart rhythm disorders.

Detect – an arrhythmia by a simple pulse check

Protect – against AF-related strokes with appropriate anticoagulation therapy

Correct – the irregular heart rhythm with access to treatment

Perfect – the patient pathway to ensure speedier diagnosis, treatment and quality of life

For more details about Arrhythmia Alliance, please visit www.heartrhythmalliance.org.

Professor Richard Schilling
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