Arrhythmia Alliance was launched in 2004 at the start of the first Arrhythmia Awareness Week in Westminster to raise awareness and highlight the deficiencies in the treatment and care of arrhythmia sufferers. A-A has established a respected relationship with government, and the result is a significant and vital change in government policy. The charity was fundamental in pushing through one of the most essential policy issues to affect cardiology and cardiac patients, resulting in the inclusion of a new Chapter on Arrhythmias and Sudden Cardiac Death in the National Service Framework (NSF). Before lobbying began, the word ‘arrhythmia’ was mentioned only once in the NSF for Coronary Heart Disease; there were no guidelines dictating diagnosis, treatment or care for those with heart rhythm disorders relating to the ‘electrics’ of the heart. A-A is now influencing government with lobbying efforts to make pulse checks a standard procedure for all doctor appointment visits in the UK.
A-A continues to strive for access to early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, ongoing patient support and improved quality of life for those affected by cardiac arrhythmias. The unique coalition of charities, organisation, patients, carers, patient groups, medical and health groups and allied professionals provides an integral information and support network for those affected by arrhythmias and it is a springboard for medical discussion and health service improvement. The coalition represents thousands of individual members including patients, doctors, nurses, physiologists, cardiologists and patient carers.
Raising awareness is at the forefront of A-A’s activities. We run awareness events throughout the year, culminating in an annual World Heart Rhythm Week and Arrhythmia Awareness Week held every June which encourages old and new supporters to promote awareness of cardiac arrhythmias. ‘Know Your Pulse’ is the overriding theme for Heart Rhythm Week as the pulse is one of the most effective ways of identifying potential arrhythmias, including the irregular heart rhythm induced by Atrial Fibrillation. 1.2 million people suffer from AF in the UK which highlights the importance of the pulse as a tool to identify potential heart arrhythmias.
Since 2004, A-A has continued to grow into an international organisation, reaching across the globe to promote awareness of heart rhythm disorders and to make sure that the patient is at the centre of health care. A-A has seen the recent successful establishment of A-A Sweden, A-A Portugal, A-A Czech Republic, A-A Japan and A-A Argentina.
The Arrhythmia Alliance’s vision continues to be that “Every person affected by an arrhythmia will receive information, support and rapid access to appropriate treatment as defined by the NSF”. A-A aims to achieve this through advancing awareness, diagnosis, and improved quality of life for all those affected.