Global Atrial Fibrillation Patient Charter
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder, affecting approximately 6 million individuals in Europe, 8 million in China and over 2.6 million in the United States. Individuals with AF are at greater risk for debilitating stroke and will account for approximately 15% of all of the estimated 15 million strokes worldwide per year. Therapy to reduce risk of blood clots can prevent strokes and their associated devastating human and economic costs, yet AF often goes unrecognized and untreated. Patients diagnosed with AF that don’t receive anticoagulation or receive suboptimal treatment are at increased risk of stroke.
The Global AF Patient Charter was designed to bring a worldwide, unified voice to improving the care and treatment of individuals living with atrial fibrillation (AF) and those at risk for AF-related stroke. It contains recommendations about critical actions that policymakers, healthcare providers, payers and national governments can take to save lives, reduce the burden of disease and the huge associated medical costs.
Why have such a large number and wide variety of organisations representing atrial fibrillation, anticoagulation, stroke and heart patient and medical associations come together to endorse the Charter? The enormous costs and burden of disability and death due to unrecognized and untreated AF can be prevented if countries take simple actions. Today’s emphasis on cost containment can pressure healthcare systems to discount the patient perspective. Increased awareness of AF and early diagnosis, emphasis on prevention and treatment of AF-related stroke governed by evidence-based guidelines, enhanced continuity of care, national stroke registries, and timely access to novel oral anticoagulants, antiarrhythmics and new approaches that overcome current treatment limitations represent the best path toward quality care for people with AF while reducing the economic impact.
We call on national governments, policy makers, payers and healthcare providers to take action to improve the lives of those with AF and drastically reduce the risks and costs of AF-related stroke.