Summary: Arrhythmias affect more than two million people every year in the UK (NHS, 2018). Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, with over 1.5 million people diagnosed, however approximately 500,000 individuals remain undiagnosed, and at risk of suffering a life-threatening, debilitating AF-related stroke. It is paramount that these individuals are anticoagulated effectively to reduce their risk of such a stroke. The Arrhythmia Alliance (A-A) Know Your Pulse campaign was established in 2010 following a need for community-wide awareness and education of the importance of knowing your pulse rate and rhythm. In response to the need to identify the undiagnosed person with AF, the ‘Know Your Pulse’ campaign has undertaken opportunistic screening of people at all of its events, using manual pulse rhythm checks and mobile ECG technology.
Aims: To demonstrate the benefit of opportunistic screening at Know Your Pulse community-based events to identify people with undiagnosed AF within Warwickshire & Oxfordshire.
Methodology: Know Your Pulse (KYP) events are set up in high-footfall locations in towns/cities across the UK, publicised through local media, pharmacies and surgeries, where agreed. Attendees were offered a 30 second mobile ECG pulse check, using the AliveCor Kardia mobile single-lead ECG device. If an irregularity was detected, trained staff provided support and advice with A-A NHS approved resources for their information. If AF was detected, the participant was given an information form to share with their GP or healthcare professional. Signed consent was sought from each participant to record their data.
Results: During the first half of 2020, A-A and AF Association carried out KYP events across Oxfordshire & Warwickshire, taking 154 pulse rhythm checks. This opportunistic process identified 6 people with AF (3.8%), 10 people with tachycardia (6.5%), 4 people were unclassified (2.6%) and every other pulse check resulted in a normal reading (87.1%). Data collection has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to government restrictions regarding lockdown. If restrictions are lifted further data collection will be undertaken later in the year.
Conclusion: Community-based AF awareness events, such as KYP, are an effective opportunistic screening tool to identify people with undiagnosed AF.
References – Can be provided upon request.