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Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common forms of abnormal heart rhythm and a major cause of stroke. It affects an estimated 96,000 people in Scotland, with as many as 50,000 people with AF remaining undiagnosed.
The Cross Party Group (CPG) on Heart Disease and Stroke have held an inquiry into the diagnosis, treatment and care of people living with Atrial Fibrillation in Scotland, and launched the final report at the Scottish Parliament on the 23d January 2018.
A Focus on Atrial Fibrillation in Scotland: A report by the Cross Party Group on Heart Disease and Stroke (PDF)
The Inquiry gathered information from clinicians, people living with AF, and organisations with an interest in AF, through surveys and round-table discussions.
The new report highlights the opportunity to reduce the burden of stroke in Scotland through tackling AF. Colin Smyth MSP highlights in his foreword:
“The recommendations in this report will drive forward change in relation to atrial fibrillation in Scotland, and act as a catalyst towards improving the outcomes and experiences of people with this condition. Creation of this report is only the first step. The CPG and the advisory panel are keen to build on the momentum created by the report and work collaboratively with the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to make a difference to the lives of people living with atrial fibrillation, their families and carers.”
The Inquiry focuses on 4 key areas: detection and diagnosis, treatment and management, using data to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment, and importantly the views of people living with AF.
The Scottish Government should:
1. Encourage targeted AF case-finding programmes
2. Work with the relevant National Advisory Committees to address the shortage of cardiac physiologists working within Scotland
3. Invest in the use of proven technologies within clinical practice to detect AF
4. Work with stakeholders in primary and secondary care to create a clear and consist clinical pathway
5. Actively promote and support health boards to implement specialised AF services
6. Embed consistent and effective data capture
7. Support the development and implementation of IT software solutions to support case-finding, therapeutic decisions, and allow audit
8. Ensure all health professionals have the information they need about AF to support patients
9. Work with clinicians, researchers, third sector and people affected by AF to find the most effective methods to raise awareness amongst the public
10. Ensure people with AF and at risk receive the information and support they need.