AF Association News & Events

New report raises concern that current funding not enough to prevent stroke in Europe

According to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a division of The Economist Group, current investment may be insufficient to further decrease rates of stroke in Europe. No Time for Silence: Exploring Policy Approaches to Investment in Stroke Prevention in Europe outlines findings that suggest despite reductions in stroke rates and improvements in preventative measures, the absolute number of strokes is increasing in most European countries due to an expanding and rapidly ageing population. Therefore, the report calls for more effective policy responses and investment in prevention activities to help further prevent strokes.

The independent report, which was sponsored by The Bristol-Myers Squibb–Pfizer Alliance, was based on surveys and in-depth interviews from December 2019 to January 2020 with more than 250 senior executives from healthcare policy and payer organisations (public and private), patient advocacy groups and the healthcare workforce across five major European countries. Specifically, Mrs Trudie Lobban MBE — Founder and CEO of Arrythmia Alliance — was of several individuals who gave generously contributed their views and insights for the report.

The key findings of the report include:

  • 60% of survey respondents, overall, noted that government funding in stroke prevention was lacking to prevent admissions to emergency hospital departments in the long term.
  • 71% of respondents do not think that many people understand the impact of stroke, emphasising the need for government funding and support for education and awareness initiatives.
  • Only 39% respondents believe the latest clinical guidelines for managing people at risk of stroke are being “mostly” or “entirely” implemented. Lack of funding from national authorities and a lack of understanding of key stroke risk factors are the largest barriers to implementation, according to respondents.
  • 71% of survey respondents said that mobile and/or digital health apps provide them with useful data to help support stroke prevention. However, 48% say they do not always have time to look at the data from them to support decision-making.

Although the surveys and in-depth interviews took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the considerations in the report around policy and investment efforts for preventing stroke have become even more relevant during the pandemic. Given the rapidly changing landscape, the report findings further reinforce the need for more investment into stroke prevention.

Professor Michael Brainin, President, World Stroke Organization, comments: “While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of healthcare around the world, urgent conditions like stroke have been especially impacted as a concerning pattern of reduced acute stroke admissions has emerged. This decrease in admissions may be preventable with appropriate action and we hope that this research will elevate the urgent need for policymakers to be more active and involved in the funding of prevention, diagnosis and management of stroke.”

Trudie Lobban will speaking at a webcast, hosted by The Bristol-Myers Squibb–Pfizer Alliance, on Wednesday 4th November at 2pm GMT to discuss the importance of stroke and stroke prevention, while highlighting key findings from the report. Click here to register for the webcast

To help raise awareness of the need to Detect AF to Protect against AF-related stroke, The AF Association hosts Global AF Aware Week

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