Athens, 22 June 2013: Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac rhythm disorder, affecting 1.5-2% of the general population in the developed world (1). Over 6 million Europeans currently suffer from atrial fibrillation, and it is estimated that the prevalence will at least double in the next 50 years as the population ages (2).
Patients with atrial fibrillation have a substantially increased risk of stroke. When strokes occur in patients with atrial fibrillation they are associated with more death and disability, longer hospital stays, and less chance of returning home. Atrial fibrillation is also associated with an increased risk of heart failure and impaired cognitive function including dementia.
Professor Gregory YH Lip, Birmingham, UK, who was Chairman of the Task Force responsible for the development of the website, said: “Atrial fibrillation is common and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Patients can be extremely symptomatic and distressed, and may have a very poor quality of life.”
He added: “Patients with atrial fibrillation often have questions or misconceptions about their condition, such as whether they can travel, should they avoid certain foods, what can interact with their medication, and what is the risk of treatments. All of these questions are answered on the website.”
AFib Matters was put together by a multidisciplinary, international task force of expert clinicians and patient representatives. It outlines what atrial fibrillation is, symptoms, complications, types of drugs, and the need for stroke prevention. A section is devoted to frequently asked questions.
Prof Lip said: “The website also highlights the latest developments in the treatment and management of atrial fibrillation including the new oral anticoagulant drugs, ablation and devices. It is the authoritative website on atrial fibrillation and will be updated at regular intervals with relevant and timely information.
“We know that education on atrial fibrillation helps patients understand their condition and improves management,” he concluded. “AFib Matters will boost awareness and understanding of atrial fibrillation and dispel misconceptions of this common and distressing condition.”