Heart Rhythm Society launches atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest awareness campaign


The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) has launched a Boston citywide awareness campaign to increase knowledge about symptoms, warning signs and available treatment options for atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest. As part of its initiative, the HRS will host a mobile education event at Boston City Hall Plaza on 9 May, which is designated Cardiac Arrhythmia Awareness Day in the city of Boston, USA.

Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Governor, has proclaimed May to be Cardiac Arrhythmia Awareness Month, calling attention to the need for greater public awareness throughout the Commonwealth about atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest. To support consumer education about these potentially life-threatening diseases, the HRS has launched the Boston citywide awareness campaign.

More deaths occur each year as a result of sudden cardiac arrest than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS. However, according to a recent HRS survey, more than 65% of Americans not only underestimate the seriousness of sudden cardiac arrest, but also believe this is a type of heart attack. In addition, despite affecting more than two million people in the United States, only 50% of Americans recognise atrial fibrillation as a type of heart rhythm disorder. These findings point to a critical need for increased consumer education and awareness of these serious heart rhythm conditions.

“Originally founded in Boston, HRS is committed to providing residents in and around the city with education and tools critical to maintaining heart health,” said Bruce L Wilkoff, president of the Heart Rhythm Society. “Specifically, our research shows that there is a widespread lack of understanding about sudden cardiac arrest and atrial fibrillation, which can lead people to overlook or miss warning signs while the conditions are still treatable. The citywide awareness campaign aims to make Boston a shining example of how awareness and education not only can improve quality of life, but also save lives.”

“Heart rhythm conditions affect millions of Americans every day and awareness is the first, and most important, step in ensuring that patients receive the treatment they need to lead long and healthy lives,” said John Smith, senior vice president for Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. “We are proud to support HRS in its efforts to empower Bostonians during Cardiac Arrhythmia Awareness Month.”

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, ZOLL Medical Corporation, eCardio Diagnostics, GE, Medtronic and Boehringer Ingelheim support the HRS campaign.