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Clinical Articles, Lead Article

Global charter to combat AF

The Global Atrial Fibrillation Patient Charter, endorsed by 68 medical and patient organisations from 39 countries, was launched at the World Heart Federation’s recent World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions 2012, along with the supporting Sign Against Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation campaign, to address atrial fibrillation (AF) as an under-recognised cardiovascular public health emergency.

The Charter has been developed by a Steering Committee of organisations, including AntiCoagulation Europe, Arrhythmia Alliance, Atrial Fibrillation Association, Irish Heart Foundation, and Stroke Alliance for Europe.  It contains recommendations about critical actions that policy makers, healthcare providers, payers and national governments can take to save lives, reduce the burden of disease and the huge associated medical costs.

The Sign Against Stroke campaign aims to raise awareness of AF and the need to prevent AF-related stroke by encouraging all relevant stakeholders, including the general public, to visit,, and show their support by signing the Global AF Patient Charter.

The goal of Sign Against Stroke is to gather 1.7 million signatures in support of the Charter – one for each of the estimated number of grandparents, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles killed or disabled by AF strokes every year – in support of the Global AF Patient Charter and its “five critical recommendations”:

  • Implement public information and education campaigns to raise awareness of the early signs of AF, the risk factors of stroke and the importance of pulse checks
  • Make AF-related stroke prevention and care a national healthcare priority
  • Implement widely accepted clinical guidelines on the treatment of AF and AF-related stroke at a national level
  • Enhance medical education and best practices in the healthcare workforce to improve prevention, detection and management of AF and AF-related stroke
  • Ensure technologies that improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of people with AF or at risk of AF-related stroke are made appropriately available at the earliest opportunity

“Too many lives are ruined because people don’t discover that they have AF until after they have had a stroke,” said Mellanie True Hills, Founder and CEO of, an AF patient advocacy organisation. “We must ensure that people are diagnosed earlier and treated promptly and effectively to manage AF and prevent strokes. We are asking people around the world to visit the website and sign the Charter to raise awareness of this potentially deadly and debilitating condition that destroys lives”.

“Every 12 seconds someone in the world will suffer from an AF-related stroke,” said Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder and Trustee, Arrhythmia Alliance, and Co-Founder and CEO, Atrial Fibrillation Association. “However, unlike high blood pressure or diabetes, many people have never heard of atrial fibrillation. This is a condition that increases our risk of stroke by 500% and yet, with early diagnosis and appropriate anticoagulation, the majority of AF-related strokes can be prevented”.

Published on: May 24, 2012

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

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