Value through Innovation01 September 2014
22 March 2011

Survey of people with atrial fibrillation and their doctors uncovers need for more education about the link between AF and stroke

SPEAK about AF reveals that more than half of people with atrial fibrillation (51%) are not concerned about their increased risk of stroke

Logo SPEAK about AF

Madrid, Spain, and Ingelheim, Germany, 22nd March 2011 – The results of the SPEAK about AF Survey (Stroke Prevention Education, Awareness and Knowledge) were announced today for the first time. SPEAK about AF is the largest survey ever conducted in people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF),1 the most common sustained heart rhythm disorder,2 and physicians who treat the condition. The survey revealed that more education is needed about the link between AF and strokes, which are often devastating.1 Although 93% of physicians agree that the risk of a stroke is the most serious threat for people with AF, 51% of people with AF are not concerned about their increased risk of stroke.1 The survey supports 1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke, a global disease awareness campaign.

One in four adults over the age of 40 develop AF in their lifetime.3 People with AF are five times more likely to suffer a stroke than people without AF.4 Many strokes can be prevented with correct management but as many patients are not aware of their risk, they don’t take action.5

In order to raise awareness and help prevent 1 million AF-related strokes, 1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke, a first-of-its kind initiative, will grant 32 awards totalling €1 million for projects, voted for by the public, which fulfil this mission. The public is invited to visit www.heartofstroke.com to vote for their favourite projects and make a difference to the lives of people with AF. They can also learn more about AF and the associated risk of stroke.

Risk of Stroke

 

"The SPEAK about AF Survey showed that the more information people with AF receive the less worried they feel about their condition, therefore lessening the emotional burden of AF and improving quality of life”, said Eve Knight, AntiCoagulation Europe, UK. "More education is vital since early diagnosis and appropriate management can reduce the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation by about two thirds. Disease awareness programmes like 1 Mission 1 Million play an important role in increasing awareness of AF and preventing stroke. This initiative empowers the public to take action against AF-related stroke by doing something as easy as voting for their favourite projects."

The survey affirmed the need for more education and information on the condition. Key global findings include:

AF has a negative impact1
AF has a negative impact on the lives of people with this condition

  • The majority of physicians (92%) and more than half of people with AF (65%) agreed that the condition has a negative impact on their lives
  • Approximately two thirds of people with AF agree (64%) that they have become less active since being diagnosed
  • Their ability to participate in physical activities (51%) or undertake other physical activities such as regular household chores (26%) or travel (22%) are some of the areas mostly affected
  • 40% of people with AF said their AF had affected their diet
  • Over half of people with AF (55%) said that managing their AF was a burden.

Awareness of stroke risk is low1
While physicians are aware of the risk of AF-related stroke, not all people with AF fully understand their risk

  • Physicians overwhelmingly agree (93%) that the risk of a stroke is the most serious threat for people with AF
  • Furthermore, 41% of people with AF do not feel sufficiently informed about the risk of stroke and over half (55%) also believe that AF increases the risk of a heart attack, which is not a common complication of AF
  • More than half of people with atrial fibrillation (51%) are not concerned about their increased risk of stroke.

There is a need for information1
There is a need to provide more information about the risk of AF-related stroke and to utilise new channels for communication to reach people with AF

  • Even though more than half of all physicians (60%) direct people to additional information, almost half of all people with AF (46%) would like to receive additional information about treatment and stroke prevention
  • More than half of all physicians (56%) agree that increased public awareness of the link between AF and stroke would help to facilitate conversations with their patients
  • The study also revealed that people with AF are most likely to turn to friends and family (29%), pharmacists (26%) or websites (18%) for more information about the condition.

"It’s challenging for healthcare professionals because there are limited resources available to share with patients about AF," said Prof. John Camm, St Georges Hospital London, UK. "There is a need for more educational materials that can support patients at diagnosis and beyond."

More information leads to less worry1
Over time and with more information, people with AF feel less worried and more in control of how they manage the prevention of stroke

  • The majority of people with the condition (68%) stated that they were worried upon being diagnosed with AF. However, over time, fewer people are worried (38%) and as they learn more, are likely to feel informed (34%) and confident (27%).

For more information about AF and stroke and to vote for your favourite project ideas visit www.heartofstroke.com. For more information on the SPEAK about AF Survey visit www.speakaf.com.

Notes to Editors

About Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
AF is the most common sustained heart rhythm abnormality worldwide with one in four adults over the age of 40 developing AF in their lifetime.2,3 AF causes the heart to beat irregularly and often too fast or too slow.6 People with AF are five times more likely to suffer a stroke than people without AF and AF-related strokes tend to be more severe and disabling than non AF-related strokes.4,7,8 Many strokes can be prevented with correct management but many patients are not aware of their risk and so take no action to prevent it.5

Background to the SPEAK about AF Survey1
The SPEAK about AF Survey, the largest and most extensive survey ever conducted among people diagnosed with AF and physicians who treat the condition, revealed that more education is needed about the link between AF and stroke.

  • The survey was designed to assess current knowledge, perceptions and behaviours around AF and the associated stroke risk. Its objective was to identify areas for improved communication and education about AF-related stroke risk and patient care. It was conducted to provide a basis for developing approaches to improve the low level of awareness about the risk of AF-related stroke.
  • Over 3.700 people were surveyed including people diagnosed with the disease, cardiologists, neurologists and general practitioners
    • 1.640 people with AF
    • 1.036 General Practitioners and 964 Cardiologists
    • Total: 3.729 (incl. 39 Neurologists and 50 Internal Medicine Specialists)
  • The survey was conducted in 12 countries across 4 continents
    • Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey
    • United States, Canada
    • Brazil, Mexico
    • Japan
  • The survey, excluding the US and Mexico, was conducted by GfK Research Matters between the 1st July and the 19th November 2010. The survey in the US was conducted by Harris and in Mexico by Kantar Health. The survey was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally, with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of 12.7 billion euro, while spending 21% of net sales in its largest business segment (Prescription Medicines) on research and development.

References
1SPEAK about AF Survey (2011) – ISBN 978-3-9814382-0-8.
2Stewart S, Murphy N, Walker A, et al. Cost of an emerging epidemic: an economic analysis of atrial fibrillation in the UK. Heart 2004; 90:286-92.
3Lloyd-Jones DM, Wang TJ, Leip EP, et al.  Lifetime risk for development of atrial fibrillation: the Framingham Heart Study. Circulation 2004; 110:1042-6.
4Saveliea I, et al. Stroke in atrial fibrillation: update on pathophysiology, new antithrombotic therapies, and evolution of procedures and devices. Ann Med 2007; 39:371-91.
5Hart GR, et al. Meta-analysis: Antithrombotic therapy to prevent stroke in patients who have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Ann Intern Med 2007; 146:857-67.
6Goodacre S, et al. ABC of clinical electrocardiography. Atrial arrhythmias. Br Med J 2002; 324:594-7.
7Lin HJ, Wolf PA, Kelly-Hayes M, et al. Stroke severity in atrial fibrillation: the Framingham study. Stroke 1996; 27:1760-4.
8Kelly-Hayes M, et al. The influence of gender and age on disability following ischemic stroke: The Framingham Study. J Stroke Carebrovasc Dis 2003; 12:119-26.

 

Media contact

  • Malin
    Boehringer Ingelheim

    Media & PR
    Dr Reinhard Malin
    Binger Strasse 173
    55216 Ingelheim am Rhein

    GERMANY

Media contact

  • Malin
    Boehringer Ingelheim

    Media & PR
    Dr Reinhard Malin
    Binger Strasse 173
    55216 Ingelheim am Rhein

    GERMANY

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