In parallel with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, USA, initial results have been released from a physician educational programme being undertaken to rectify misunderstandings on stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation in China.
The programme offered by the ACC and the Chinese Society of Cardiology with the support of Boehringer Ingelheim, is part of wider international educational activities. It is designed to address the current chronic under-treatment of atrial fibrillation in China and meet future needs for the prevention of atrial fibrillation-related strokes. Following the formation of a Steering Committee with international experts from the ACC and Chinese experts from the Chinese Society of Cardiology, foundational ‘Train the Trainer’ meetings were completed in early 2013. With the support of these trainers, the educational programme will now be rolled out in hospitals across China, reaching over 4,000 cardiologists during 2013.
It is estimated that there are over eight million patients with atrial fibrillation in China, considerably more than in Europe and the USA, and the number continues to rise.1 Of these patients, currently only 10% receive any form of treatment for stroke prevention in China, far below the average treatment rates worldwide and in other parts of Asia.2
Results from the global RE-LY AF registry have highlighted the significant need for effective stroke prevention in China, where more atrial fibrillation patients suffered a stroke (7.2%) versus South East Asia (6.6%) and North America (3.1%) within a one year follow-up period.2 For this reason the American College of Cardiology together with the Chinese Society of Cardiology, and with support from Boehringer Ingelheim, has developed an educational programme to increase the understanding of atrial fibrillation treatments and management in China.
“The first Expert Consensus on AF Anticoagulation Treatment in China has identified the importance of primary and secondary stroke prevention for patients with atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation leads to a five-fold increase in the risk of stroke, especially the risk of ischaemic stroke, which accounts for 92% of all AF-related strokes,” commented Dayi Hu, president of the Chinese Society of Cardiology. “There is still considerable misunderstanding amongst Chinese doctors on the role of anticoagulant treatments such as warfarin for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation patients, leading to significant and widespread underuse. In light of the recent innovations in the field and the introduction of novel oral anticoagulants, physician education is even more crucial for improving patient outcomes.”
Following the formation of a Steering Committee between the ACC and the Chinese Society of Cardiology, ‘Train the Trainer’ meetings were undertaken in January 2013 led by John Camm and Elaine Hylek to build the foundation of the educational programme in China. Ten pilot centres will be set-up throughout China in 2013 offering over fifty lectures and face-to-face exchanges in hospitals with top local and global experts in atrial fibrillation. The contents of the lectures will be based on actual clinical practice to address the ‘real needs of China’. The programme is expected to reach over 4,000 cardiologists during 2013.
“The Train the Trainer meetings have allowed us to build a firm foundation from which to undertake peer-to-peer sharing of medical knowledge, expertise and clinical skills,” said Camm, head of the Division of Cardiac and Vascular Sciences at St Georges Hospital, UK. “Working together we hope to standardise the care of patients with atrial fibrillation in China throughout 2013.”
“The American College of Cardiology is thrilled to collaborate with the Chinese Society of Cardiology and Boehringer Ingelheim to bring physician training to our counterparts in China,” said William A. Zoghbi, ACC president. “We hope to improve patient care and outcomes across China by working together to share our experience and expertise.”
Klaus Dugi, corporate senior vice president Medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim stated: “In addition to developing innovative treatment options like Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim is proud to support educational programmes across the world which help to encourage optimal management of patients with atrial fibrillation. We hope that the programme will help to advance patient care across China.”
1Hu D and Sun Y. Epidemiology, Risk Factors for Stroke, and Management of Atrial Fibrillation in China. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008, 52:865-868.
2Healey JS, et al. Global Variations in the 1-Year Rates of Death and Stroke in 15,340 Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department with Atrial Fibrillation in 47 Countries: The RE-LY AF Registry. Presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2012, 29th August 2012.