World Thrombosis Day

New Survey Reveals Low Global Public Awareness About Atrial Fibrillation & Link to Stroke

BERLIN, July 12, 2017 -- The World Thrombosis Day campaign, led by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), released a new survey showing global public awareness of atrial fibrillation (AFib) is low at 48 percent worldwide compared with other medical conditions. Additionally, just 36 percent of survey respondents were aware of the connection between AFib and stroke.

"Despite the prevalence of AFib around the world, this survey confirms that a majority of people lack critical awareness and knowledge about the condition," said Dr. Gary Raskob, dean of the College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and chairman of the World Thrombosis Day Steering Committee. "Through the World Thrombosis Day campaign, we hope to continue raising awareness of AFib and its importance as a cause of stroke, which can be prevented by detection and treatment of AFib. This effort will help meet the World Health Assembly's goal of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable disease by 25 percent by 2025."

The internet-based study, conducted by ISTH in collaboration with Ipsos-Reid, included more than 6,000 participants in 10 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Netherlands, Uganda, United Kingdom and the United States, in fall 2016. The 11-question survey compared awareness of AFib, its risk factors, and signs and symptoms with other thrombosis-related disorders, including thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, heart attack and stroke.

The survey also assessed knowledge of more commonly known disorders such as hypertension, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Participants were selected from survey panels in weighted, age-stratified categories.

Key findings include:

  • Across the 10 countries surveyed, AFib awareness ranged from 25 percent to 69 percent.
  • 48 percent of global respondents were aware of AFib, compared with 67 percent of U.S. respondents.
  • Only 36 percent of respondents identified stroke as a consequence of AFib.
  • Awareness of AFib risk factors ranged from 8 percent (asthma) to 52 percent (high blood pressure).
  • Of those who reported awareness of AFib, 82 percent correctly identified palpitations as a symptom.

AFib is a common type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, causing the heart's upper chamber to beat out of rhythm. This can cause pooling of the blood, ultimately leading to clot formation. If that clot breaks free, it can lodge in an artery, travel to the brain and result in a stroke. For more information and resources about AFib, please visit www.worldthrombosisday.org.

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