AF Association News & Events

AF Association make understanding AF as “Easy as ABC” in new video series

The AF Association, as part of Global AF Aware Week (16-22 November) has launched a new six-part series of videos about atrial fibrillation (AF). Presented by world-renowned AF expert Professor Gregory Lip (Liverpool, UK) and  AF Association Founder and CEO Trudie Lobban MBE, the aim of the “AF is as easy as ABC” series is to help people with AF, or those at risk of AF, better understand the condition and its available therapies and treatments.

In the first video, Professor Lip (Price-Evans Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK), who is a medical advisor to AF Association, outlines the principles of managing AF. He explains that the “AF Better Care Pathway” — also known as the ABC pathway — has three parts: A for Avoiding AF-related stroke, B for Better symptom control, and C for Cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities.

The goal of the pathway, according to Professor Lip, is to “streamline care” across all areas of medicine. Therefore, whether a person with AF is seeing a GP or is seeing a heart rhythm specialist (sometimes called an electrophysiologist), the goals of care are the same. Everyone involved in the management of AF should know about the ABC pathway and this includes the person with AF themselves. The ABC pathway is also recommended in the new European AF guidelines, as a means to streamline the care of AF patients in a holistic and integrated manner.

“If patients with AF understand these principles, they will be better informed about what the different healthcare professionals are trying to do,” Professor Lip observes, adding: “Since AF is also managed by many healthcare professionals, not just cardiologists, we need a consistent and uniform message on the approach to AF care.”

The other five videos in the series look at the different aspects of this pathway in detail. The second episode in the series, for example, looks at A for Avoiding AF-related stroke — reviewing how a person’s risk of stroke is calculated and what therapies are available to reduce this risk. Episodes three and four look at B for Better Symptom, discussing rate control and rhythm control respectively, and the final two episodes review “C for Cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities” (looking at risk factors and lifestyle management).

Above all, the videos stress the importance of shared decision-making. Shared decision-making is when healthcare professionals and patients work together to decide which therapies and treatments provide the best option for the patient. If a person with AF is involved in the decision-making process, they are more likely to be able to continue taking their therapies and treatments (known as “adherence”). The more in control a person with AF feels, the better their outcomes will be.

AF is the most common type of arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm disorder) worldwide, affecting about 2–4% of all adults. It causes significant mortality and morbidity, with the risk of AF-related stroke being the greatest concern. If not receiving therapy, a person with AF may be up to five times more likely to have an ischaemic stroke than someone without AF. AF-related strokes are devastating — 20% of people die and 60% become disabled — and are often worse than strokes related to other causes. Also, as AF can be asymptomatic, many people do not discover that they have AF until they have had an AF-related stroke. Therefore, AF Association raises awareness of AF by providing information and support materials for those with AF or those at risk of developing it. For more patient-focused videos on AF, attend the virtual AF Association Patients Day. For only $15, you can access the content at any time over the next 12 months.

Click to here to watch the series

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