Screening for atrial fibrillation directly with your GP could reduce the risk of stroke

Screening for atrial fibrillation directly with your GP could reduce the risk of stroke

According to European researchers, we would benefit from being screened for atrial fibrillation directly at the GP. If included in the consultation, this procedure could significantly prevent the risk of stroke.

Do you know about atrial (or atrial) fibrillation? This is a common heart rhythm disorder affecting no less than 750,000 people in Europe, which accelerates the heart and causes it to beat irregularly. But now, people who suffer from it are up to five times more likely to suffer a stroke than others, while the disorder is still too little diagnosed in advance. This is why, according to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), an atrial fibrillation screening test carried out by the attending physician (which is not the case today) would be a safer option.

Screening for the disorder would reduce the risk of stroke

To reach this conclusion, the team of researchers brought together under the project called AFFECT-EU (of which the ESC is a part) relied on three studies:

  • A recent meta-analysis carried out with some 35,800 participants highlighted “the ability of atrial fibrillation screening to reduce stroke”;
  • The second survey, carried out in 11 European countries, showed that “most atrial fibrillations were detected in patients with symptoms;
  • Finally, according to the third study, carried out in 18 countries, “screening for atrial fibrillation was almost as important as screening for common cancers”. Thus, a simple test from your doctor would be enough to identify the disease and prescribe “anticoagulant medications to prevent stroke”.

Time and money saved in the face of a stroke.

According to Dr. Kierzek, “The problem lies mainly in the feasibility of in-office screening.”

If the benefit is such, why don’t we already benefit from such screening by our treating physician? We asked the question to Dr. Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens, who confirms that any time to screen for atrial fibrillation is a good time, and that a routine medical consultation would be the ideal time.

“But the main problem is the feasibility of the test, as doctors are already overwhelmed” he mentions. Screening for atrial fibrillation is done via a single-lead ECG (electrocardiogram). “But you have to be equipped and have the time to do it.” specifies our expert.

However, other, simpler ways of taking stock could be put in place, according to him.

There are already other means such as connected watches, or oximeters connected, which can detect a problem. You can also simply take the person’s pulse. The idea that should be anchored is that it should become a reflex, like taking blood pressure.”

And if you want to know more about your own heart rate for prevention, our expert points out that today connected watches or the simple act of taking your pulse can also give you the good reflex to listen to your heart.