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ARE YOU are concerned about palpitations you be experiencing? If so, contact your GP now in case it’s a sign of a potentially killer condition.

The Atrial Fibrillation Association say the pandemic is stopping people from seeking what could be life-saving help.

Trudie Lobban, CEO of the AF Association, said: “We are urging those who are concerned about palpitations and possible atrial fibrillation not to put off seeking advice because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we understand that people may be worried about overwhelming the NHS or about contracting the virus, it is important to remember that the NHS is there to protect all patients, not only those with COVID-19, and remains open for business.”

She added: “Unfortunately, the implications of not seeking advice from your GP can be devastating for those with undiagnosed AF. Without anticoagulation therapies, people with AF are five times more likely to have a stroke than those without the condition.”

During Global AF Aware Week, which runs until the weekend, the charity is encouraging everyone to Know their Pulse to Know their Heart Rhythm through a simple 30-second pulse check.

Trudie Lobban added: “It is important that people not only count the number of beats but also check for a steady regular rhythm, as this may be an indicator of Atrial Fibrillation.”

  • Atrial Fibrillation, also known as AFib or AF, is the most common arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder); it affects approximately 33.5 million people globally, with 1.5 million people diagnosed in the UK. However, a further 500,000 go undiagnosed in the UK.
  • Several studies have reported an increase in excess acute cardiovascular deaths since the first COVID-19 death in the UK in March, with one report suggesting a 35% proportional increase in acute cardiovascular deaths at home during this period.
  • What proportion of these deaths relate to AF is unclear, but the study did find that stroke to be the most common cause of death. Given that 10% of all ischaemic strokes are associated with previously undetected AF, that at least some of these excess deaths were related to AF is almost certain and yet so easily avoided with anticoagulation medication.
  • As part of the awareness week, the charity will also be continuing to reach people with suspected AF or diagnosed with AF, and healthcare professionals, through the “Detect, Protect, Correct & Perfect” campaign.