Anti-stroke charter launched at cardio meet
Dubai, April 19, 2012
A charter to offer solutions that could prevent millions across the Middle East from a stroke caused by atrial fibrillation (AF), a potentially life threatening condition, was launched at a global cardiology congress in Dubai.
The World Heart Federation’s World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions 2012 (WCC) opened in Dubai yesterday (April 18), featuring a line-up of 600 world-leading expert speakers who will share 1,000 new scientific abstracts.
The Global Atrial Fibrillation Patient Charter is endorsed by 68 medical and patient organisations from 39 countries.
In an unprecedented worldwide call to action, the Patient Charter and supporting ‘Sign Against Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation’ campaign address this under-recognised but growing cardiovascular public health emergency.
It is estimated that almost 1.3 million people in the Middle East and North Africa live with AF, an abnormal heart rhythm and major risk factor for stroke.
AF causes the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) to quiver instead of beating effectively, resulting in blood not being completely pumped out, which in turn causes pooling and can lead to clotting. These clots can travel to the brain and trigger a major and often fatal stroke.
In a global call to action, 68 patient organisations and medical societies from around the world are asking the general public, healthcare professionals and policy makers to work with them to drive action that will prevent serious and devastating AF-related strokes.
People are being encouraged to show their support by visiting the campaign website, www.signagainststroke.com, and signing the Charter.
“Alarmingly, throughout the Middle East there is a clear unmet medical need for stroke prevention in AF patients,” said Dr Wael Abdulrahman Almahmeed, Immediate Past President of the Emirates Cardiac Society.
“The majority of such strokes are preventable but the under-diagnosis as well as suboptimal use of anticoagulation, mean that an unnecessary and heavy burden is placed on patients, their families and careers. That is why we are asking people around the world to visit the website and sign the Charter.”
Atrial fibrillation has no geographic, gender or socio-economic boundaries and is responsible for approximately 20 per cent of all strokes caused by blood clots.
Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world. In the Middle East and North Africa stroke is increasingly becoming a major health problem, with projections that deaths from it will nearly double by 2030.
“Despite being a common condition, AF is often under-diagnosed and, consequently, under-treated, resulting in inadequate stroke prevention,” said Professor Mohamed Sobhy, president, Egyptian Society of Cardiology.
“In the Middle East there is a clear lack of information regarding the burden of AF, despite the fact AF can increase our risk of stroke by 500 per cent. This needs to be urgently addressed.”
Crucially, AF-related strokes are more serious than those resulting from other causes. This means that people who do suffer an AF-related stroke are less likely to be able to return to their own homes and will need more care from their families or a nursing home.
However, with more attention to education, and diagnosis and treatment, the impact of these strokes on the individuals themselves, the health system and society can be reduced.
“Bayer HealthCare is proud to be supporting this campaign,” said Dr Flemming Ornskov, head of General Medicine, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.
"Improving patient outcomes is of utmost importance. However, it will require everybody to work together, patients, healthcare professionals, policy makers, non-governmental organisations and industry. None of us can achieve this alone.” – TradeArabia News Service