Bradford ahead of the game in Heart Rhythm Week

As National Hearth Rhythm Week 2014 gets underway, GPs in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven continue their pioneering work with patients with irregular heartbeat.

The ground-breaking project which is leading to fewer strokes is being rolled out by more than 60 GP practices in NHS Bradford City, NHS Bradford Districts and NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs.)

Across the 3 CCGs there are more than 6,000 patients living with the potential ticking time bomb of atrial fibrillation – usually referred to as AF. This is a condition which triggers abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart, which may or may not cause symptoms but always dramatically increases the risk of stroke.

Of those 6,000 AF patients, 5,000 are deemed moderate to high risk of stroke. However, before the project only 2,300 were being prescribed anticoagulant drugs such as Warfarin, as a precautionary measure.

Thanks to the project – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK - hundreds more are being targeted and are now being prescribed anticoagulants. Ultimately this will result in 200 fewer strokes per year in Bradford and district – or as many as 10,000 across the UK if the project is rolled out nationally.

Dr Matt Fay GP specialist in cardiology, who led the project said: “This project has resulted in a dramatic positive effect on the health of patients. All strokes are devastating but AF strokes are bigger and potentially lethal.

“However, the good news is that we know when prescribed anticoagulant drugs, these strokes can be avoided. We have always known this yet too many patients are still being given aspirin when they could be given anticoagulants. It’s important that we continue to check patients for irregular heartbeat; that way, if AF is diagnosed, we can make sure they receive the right treatment and medication.”

Abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart can affect four in every 100 people over the age of 65, living in the UK.

Hearth Rhythm Week 2014, which is organised by Arrhythmia Alliance, the hearth rhythm charity, runs from 2 to 8 June and celebrates 10 years of innovation and advancements in patient care.

This year it incorporates the social media Thunderclap campaign which is working to save 100,000 lives from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), improve outcomes for 1 million AF patients and increase early detection and management for 2 million arrhythmia sufferers.

For further information about Arrhythmia Alliance and Heart Rhythm Week 2014, visit http://www.heartrhythmcharity.org.uk