17th December 2014

Lifesaving medication to help people with heart rhythm disorders

17 December 2014

A focus on prescribing life-saving medication for local people with atrial fibrillation (AF) – a heart rhythm disorder - is the latest stage of the Bradford’s Healthy Hearts campaign.

The risk of stroke for people with AF can be reduced by more than two-thirds by taking an anticoagulant medication – such as warfarin – prescribed by a doctor.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition which causes a fast, irregular heartbeat.  For many people it is associated with a high risk of stroke, caused by blood clots which form in the heart and travel through the bloodstream to the brain.

People at the risk of having a catastrophic stroke as a result of their AF are being invited by local doctors to have a treatment review.  Local figures show that more than 40% of people with an irregular heartbeat could benefit from this latest drive to improve their treatment.

All 41 GP practices in NHS Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are taking part in the Bradford’s Healthy Hearts programme which aims to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack for people in risk groups.  And, as part of the campaign, clinicians have now taken part in training to address the most up-to-date methods of preventing stroke for people with AF.

In this latest stage of the three-year campaign, GPs will screen patient records to identify people who have been diagnosed with AF and, where they are not currently being prescribed anticoagulants, are inviting them to the practice to undergo a treatment review.

In the first phase of the campaign, GPs also reviewed patients taking cholesterol-lowering statins to ensure that they were receiving the best care available to reduce their risk of a future stroke and heart attack.

Dr Youssef Beaini, clinical lead for cardiovascular disease at NHS Bradford Districts CCG, said:  “Being prescribed an anticoagulant - such as warfarin – after a diagnosis of AF can reduce the risk of stroke and, ultimately, save lives.

“The risk of developing a blood clot after stroke can be assessed by family doctors, through careful questioning.  Everyone except those at the lowest risk of stroke will be offered medication to help prevent blood clots forming.  I would urge anyone who receives an invitation from their GP surgery to have their treatment reviewed to attend their appointment and take the medication prescribed.

“Through the Bradford’s Healthy Hearts programme we are committed to improving the care of anyone at risk of having a stroke or heart attack.”