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Do people know what atrial fibrillation is?

Results from a survey of the general public in 10 countries reveal that less than half of people are aware of atrial fibrillation (AF).

The average, from a cohort of 6,312 respondents, was 48%, which is lower than the awareness of other thrombotic and non-thrombotic disorders, except deep vein thrombosis. 

The figure for the UK was 41%, while Canada had the lowest level of awareness (25%) and Uganda had the highest (69%).

Awareness of risk factors for AF ranged from 8% to 52%, and awareness that AF leads to stroke ranged from 36% to 46%. Among those reporting awareness of AF, 82% identified palpitations as a symptom.

Lead author Aaron Wendelboe, of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, said: “Recognising atrial fibrillation is as easy as having a doctor feel your pulse. It doesn’t require an expensive diagnostic test. 

“And since early recognition and treatment can be an easy way to prevent a stroke, then increasing the public’s awareness of atrial fibrillation should be a public health priority.”

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