Royal Stoke Hospital launches campaign targeting over 65's heart condition

Atrial fibrillation nurse Kevin McGibbon

The Royal Stoke Hospital is offering over 65's a free pulse test to identify if they may have the heart condition atrial fibrillation.

The initiative, nicknamed "Dr Beat", will run for the next three months on a trial basis, every Monday morning in the hospital's main reception area.

The scheme offers drop-in sessions which take just a few minutes, and involves a simple pulse check to spot whether or not the person has an irregular heart rhythm. 

The condition, know as atrial fibrillation (AF), predominantly affects men and women aged over 65, and is often undetected until it's too late.

AF can lead to issues such as blood clots or strokes, and it is vital that the condition is picked up as soon as possible so that it can be treated.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm problem in the world and gets increasingly common with age. It affects around 10% of over 65s, 15% of over 75s and 25% of over 85s.

The condition causes the heart to have an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, and can cause problems including dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness.

The ECG device for the test, operated by Cardiac Arrhythmia and Atrial Fibrillation Nurse, Kevin McGibbon, has been custom built by the hospital so that it can easily transported and set up for use.

Kevin said: “The importance of checking for atrial fibrillation cannot be understated, and that’s why we’re offering a massively simplified method for over-65s to get their pulses checked.

"With our new scheme patients will be able to get themselves checked in no time at all, which will hopefully encourage as many people as possible to take part.”

The main concern with atrial fibrillation is that the top of the heart may no longer be pumping effectively. Around 30% of acute hospital admissions with stroke are attributable to atrial fibrillation.

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