Atrial fibrillation screening can identify irregular heartbeat that leads to stroke

A simple screening can identify atrial fibrillation, such as that discovered yesterday in Vice-President Dick Cheney, and can do so even if the person is unaware of the presence of this irregular heart rhythm.

Individuals with atrial fibrillation are often unaware that they have this potentially life-threatening condition, yet it affects more than 2 million Americans.

Life Line Screening, the nation's leading provider of preventive vascular screenings, began adding atrial fibrillation screening this September and is now offering it across the nation. In atrial fibrillation, the top chambers of the heart, the atria, quiver instead of beating normally. Blood is not pumped out of the heart completely and can pool in the chambers of the heart, forming a clot. This clot can then be pumped out of the heart and travel to the brain where it can cause a stroke or travel to other parts of the body where it can block the arteries to the arms, legs, kidneys or other organs.

"As with the Vice-President's case, atrial fibrillation is often undiagnosed until a test for an unrelated condition is performed and the irregular heart rhythm is found by accident," says Andrew Manganaro, MD, FACS, FACC, Life Line Screening National Medical Director. "We want to help change this by raising awareness of the condition and offering affordable, painless, easily available screening. Identification can lead to treatment that may potentially avoid a stroke altogether."

The risk for atrial fibrillation increases with age. Life Line Screening specializes in preventive cardiovascular screening for those age 40 and over.

Established in 1993, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company is the nation's leading provider of mobile preventive health screenings. Current screenings include screenings for blocked carotid arteries, atrial fibrillation, abdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral arterial disease and osteoporosis as well as finger-stick blood tests that provide a complete lipid panel, blood glucose, and high sensitivity C-reactive protein.

The atrial fibrillation screening only costs $20 when purchased as part of a complete Stroke and Heart Rhythm package. This package also includes the carotid artery, abdominal aortic aneurysm and peripheral arterial disease screenings. For more information about Life Line Screening, call toll-free 1-877-237-1372 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com.

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