Disease awareness  

Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia, and strokes seem to be becoming more prevalent.1–3 Nevertheless, as many AF patients are asymptomatic, current epidemiological estimates might underestimate the number of people with the arrhythmia.4

AF patients can present with a wide range of sometimes debilitating symptoms, disease patterns and co-morbidities. But even when asymptomatic, AF can cause irreversible remodelling of the atria, which can perpetuate the arrhythmia and mean that over time, AF becomes progressively difficult to treat.5,6 As a result, early detection and rapid effective treatment are the cornerstones of care to alleviate symptoms and to reduce the risk of complications, including AF-related stroke.5 This section of the Learning Zone explores the background to AF-related strokes.

Detailed information within the disease awareness of stroke and atrial fibrillation is available in the sections below:

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