As many as three million people worldwide have an atrial fibrillation-related stroke every year; equivalent to one person every 12 seconds. One in four people aged 40 years or older develop atrial fibrillation during their lifetime, making it the most common heart rhythm abnormality. Atrial fibrillation causes the heart to beat irregularly and often at a too fast or too slow heart rate. People with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke than people without AF. In addition AF -related strokes are more severe and associated with more disability than non-atrial fibrillation strokes. Three out of four AF-related strokes can be prevented, but many patients are not aware of their risk and do not take action to prevent stroke.
“Many people are unaware of their increased risk and potential life changing consequences of having an atrial fibrillation-related stroke,” said Professor Roberto Ferrari, Professor of Cardiology at the University of Ferrara, Italy and expert panel member. “Through a commitment to education and funding community based projects, 1 Mission 1 Million has the potential to make a significant and meaningful difference for those affected by atrial fibrillation.”
1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke is supported by leading health experts and patient organisations including the World Heart Federation (WHF), Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA), AntiCoagulation Europe (ACE), and Stroke Alliance For Europe (SAFE) and is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.
“Increasing awareness can lead to earlier diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and to more patients receiving appropriate care - resulting in the potential prevention of more avoidable strokes,” said Professor Günter Breithardt, from the World Heart Federation and Expert Panel member. “Initiatives that work to prevent AF-related stroke will improve the quality of life for patients and have the potential to reduce health-related costs worldwide.”
Healthcare professionals and professional and patient groups can request educational materials on atrial fibrillation and the risk of stroke on http://www.heartofstroke.com/. The materials will be available at no cost.
Projects can be submitted online until 31 December, 2010. The applications will then be reviewed against the campaign’s entry criteria by an Expert Panel whose members include cardiologists and patient group leaders in the area of atrial fibrillation, all of whom have expertise in supporting people with the condition. In February 2011, selected projects will be featured on http://www.heartofstroke.com/ and healthcare professionals, professional and patient groups and the public will be invited to vote on which projects they believe will be most impactful. Voting will close in June 2011, and the projects with the most votes will be awarded funding for implementation. The Expert Panel members will also select 7 ‘Expert Picks’ - projects that are deemed to be deserving of special recognition. There are a total of 32 awards available, ranging from €10,000 to €100,000, totalling 1 million Euros.
For more information about atrial fibrillation-related stroke