The group, made up of patients with heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation (AF) a condition which causes abnormalities in heart rhythm, has gone from strength to strength, and now regularly organises awareness events as well as inviting professional speakers along to its bi-monthly meetings.
Bernie Cahill said: “The group came to us with a great idea for an event or speaker and members decided that Heart Rhythm Week is the perfect opportunity for an awareness event. This event is all about knowledge and getting to recognise symptoms of a possible heart problem.”
A simple pulse check could indicate whether a person may have AF. On the day, medical staff will be using a special ‘rhythm stick’ which changes colour if an irregular pulse is detected, along with a mobile phone app ECG. People would then be given a letter of referral to see their GP.
“We want as many people as possible to come along because often there are no symptoms with heart disorders and this simple test could save someone from having a devastating stroke later on,” added Bernie.
Dr Fay has been pioneering an innovative improvement project for patients living with the potential ticking-time bomb of AF. Prescribing anti-coagulant drugs in place of aspirin has led to fewer strokes in the district.
He said: “Abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart put people at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke. All strokes are devastating but AF strokes are bigger and potentially lethal. However, with a simple check such as regular pulse checks, any abnormalities can be detected and with the right care and intervention these strokes can be avoided.
“This awareness event is the perfect opportunity for people to come along and find out if they – or a loved one – could be at risk.”
There will also be a selection of informative leaflets and literature on hand from the British Heart Foundation, the Atrial Fibrillation Association and the Arrhythmia Alliance: the heart rhythm charity behind Heart Rhythm Week.