NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in collaboration with Tameside Council have a great opportunity to improve the identification and management of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) by using innovative technology.
Over one million people have been diagnosed with AF in the UK alone, however experts estimate that at least a third of people don’t even know they have it. In Tameside and Glossop around 340 people have a stroke per year, of which 46 were related to having AF (Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) Data 2016)).
In October 2017, NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG were presented with 96 AliveCor Kadia devices funded by Health Innovation Manchester. The devices have been allocated to GP practices across the locality to opportunistic screening for improved detection of AF.
Feedback from Tameside and Glossop practices utilising the device has been positive and many practices have integrated use of the Alivecor device in to new patient checks, appointments and clinics, and of patients with a long term health condition or who are experiencing palpitations; breathlessness/dyspnoea; syncope/dizziness; chest discomfort and stroke/transient ischaemic attack.
The Atrial fibrillation programme has three aims. To detect AF: the AliveCor Kadia device captures a medical-grade ECG in just 30-seconds which instantly tells you whether your heart rhythm is normal or if possible AF is detected in your ECG. To protect: once AF is detected clinicians can then action the appropriate treatment for patients to prevent and protect them from AF related strokes and to perfect: once a patient has been identified to have AF they can be appropriately monitored to ensure that optimal treatment is achieved.
Dr Kate Hebden, NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG Governing Body GP member for primary care said: “The use of the Alive Cor device can support the detection of Atrial Fibrillation. In many cases a simple pulse check can give you a good indication of whether you have the disease, then your GP will request a more detailed ECG before a diagnosis can be made."
Ingrid Brindle, Patient Neighbourhood Group Chair, from Hyde shares her experience of AF and would encourage anyone to get a pulse check. She said: “I’m really pleased that many surgeries in Tameside and Glossop are now using the Alive Cor device which can help the detection of AF as having an arrhythmia attack can be very frightening!
“It happened to me several times in the middle of the night. I would be sitting up in bed with my heart pounding, feeling sick and dizzy, needing to go to the bathroom and short of breath. I was never sure whether to call an ambulance. In my case AF was very irregular so when I visited the doctor the next day I would be examined thoroughly but of course there would be no evidence of what had happened."
Ingrid is very passionate about raising awareness of AF and is working with GP surgeries to keep awareness high.
To the right is a picture of Ingrid using the device which only take 30 seconds to get an ECG reading.
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