Biosense Webster, a Division of Johnson & Johnson, has reaffirmed its commitment to tackling atrial fibrillation (AF) by launching two major initiatives to coincide with Global AF Aware Week, 18–24 November 2019. A press release from the company outlines its campaign Get Smart About AFIB (GSAAF), a partnership with the Arrhythmia Alliance to improve knowledge of AF across the healthcare community and the general public. In addition, the statement details the company’s Atrial Fibrillation Management Report, which examines available treatment options for AF across Europe and their long-term impact on clinical, patient and economic outcomes, aiming to support healthcare professionals (HCPs) when making treatment decisions.
According to the release, the Atrial Fibrillation Management Report reviewed independent studies to explore current treatment options for AF patients, which include antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) and catheter ablation. Key findings were that just half of patients (52%) are well-managed by AADs, but just 4% of eligible patients receive catheter ablation —a treatment that is almost 10 times more effective in delaying disease progression than AADs, as demonstrated by the ATTEST trial. Furthermore, the report found catheter ablation to be a highly effective and economical treatment option, with data showing:
- Greater improvement on patients’ quality of life (37% vs. 18% for AADs)4, 5
- Sustained results with 94% patients free from arrhythmia recurrence after one year and 48% free from arrhythmia after four years6-
- Up to 46% lower incidence of death, stroke, cardiac arrest and cardiovascular hospitalization over seven years, compared to AADs
- Reduced need for unplanned medical visits (by up to 80%) and long-term cost savings of 35%
The statement explains that Get Smart About AFIB provides easy-to-access information to help educate the general public about the condition, its common symptoms and the importance of treatment. Patients can then ask their doctor to advise on management and treatment options available for AF. Educational materials have also been created for cardiologists, GPs and the wider healthcare community to support their work in diagnosing and treating AF.
Trudie Lobban, founder and trustee of the Arrhythmia Alliance, says in the press release: “Patients with AF have a lower quality of life than the general public. AF can lead to AF-related stroke, heart failure, dementia and the condition can have a costly impact on healthcare systems. “It is, therefore, crucial that we do everything we can to raise awareness of AF to prevent it from becoming a life-threatening epidemic. By providing healthcare professionals and patients with easy to use information and tools, we can help make a positive difference to people’s lives and reduce the risk of life-threatening conditions.”
To help combat the rising AF epidemic, GSAAF is encouraging the general public to take action by following three simple steps:
- Know the symptoms of AF and the risk factors associated with the condition by visiting https://getsmartaboutAFIB.eu
- Carry out pulse checks regularly (either manually or via available technologies such as smartphone apps)
- Seek medical advice in case of any irregularities in your heart rhythm and be informed about the different management and treatment options.