“We’re going out into the community to screen for stroke risk”

Olivia Waring is completing a Scientist Training Programme in Cardiology at UHSM. Working with consultants at the hospital, she has designed a wide-scale screening study to find pulse abnormalities in the population.
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Research has shown that if we prescribed anti-coagulants to everyone with atrial fibrillation (AF), over 4,500 strokes could be prevented every year. But it’s difficult to identify who suffers from AF because it is often asymptomatic and population screening is not currently commissioned on the NHS. My trial will screen people over the age of 65 – who are at higher risk of AF – with a handheld device in community settings like supermarkets, places of worship, social groups and retirement homes. We aim to test whether this is an effective way to screen for AF, and identify which screening locations are the most successful.

We’ve seen enormous enthusiasm for the study already, with 700 people expressing interest before it has even begun, and ASDA permitting us to screen customers in any of its stores. Although we originally planned to screen 2,000 people in South Manchester, the trial has now been extended as far North as Clitheroe and we have increased our recruitment target to 3,000.

Previous research has shown opportunistically screening for AF in community settings is just as effective as inviting people for tests in the clinic; it’s also more cost-effective. We hope this study will add to the evidence required to commission population screening, which could significantly reduce the incidence of stroke.

Olivia’s Heart Rhythm Project is on Twitter at @heartrhythmproj and Facebook here

MAHSC Cardiovascular domain - overview and case study

MAHSC’s Cardiovascular domain gives an overview of its work to improve the health of the Greater Manchester population and presents a case study of what academics and clinicians can achieve for patient care, working together.

Presented by Professor Bernard Keavney, Academic lead for the Cardiovascular domain; and Professor Ben Bridgewater, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Professor at MAHSC.


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