The World Heart Federation, sanofi-aventis and Boehringer Ingelheim have announced their collaboration on the AF AWARE (Atrial Fibrillation AWareness And Risk Education) campaign today, to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF) and its links to severe consequences including cardiovascular (CV) mortality, stroke and CV hospitalizations. The campaign aims to promote education around the risks associated with AF as well as highlight the importance of early diagnosis and comprehensive management to maximize patient outcomes.
"AF is a growing public health issue, affecting not only the patients who live with the condition, but also their families and the healthcare systems in the countries where they live. Yet research shows there is a perceived lack of awareness and understanding of this condition," said Johanna Ralston, Chief Executive Officer, World Heart Federation. "The AF AWARE campaign was established to specifically address the lack of awareness and endeavours to draw attention to this serious, chronic, disease, the consequences of which can have devastating effects on patients and healthcare systems."
"Despite the fact that the complications of AF can be severe, for many people living with AF, the condition has very little noticeable impact on their lives, and in some cases goes undiagnosed and untreated, resulting in strokes that could be prevented. Up to three million people worldwide suffer strokes related to AF each year, with half of patients dying within 12 months," said Klaus Dugi, Corporate Senior Vice President Medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim. "We are delighted to support the AF AWARE campaign in 2011, as it is critical that effective action is taken now for individuals living with AF and their families, to ensure the optimal management of the condition, reducing the number of strokes related to AF."
A recent report found that the lives of thousands of people living with AF could be at risk due to delay in time to diagnosis, poor adherence to treatment guidelines and lack of information for patients suffering from this debilitating heart condition. People living with AF have a lower quality of life than healthy individuals, as AF is also frequently associated with multiple CV co-morbidities which can adversely affect a patient's long-term outcomes. AF carries a four-to five-fold increased risk of stroke and is associated with a high risk of CV events and hospitalization. Using data from 10,000 AF patients, the REALISE AF registry showed that about 29per cent of AF patients had a CV event leading to unplanned hospitalization in the last 12 months.
"Atrial fibrillation is a major cause of morbidity and mortality which contributes to a substantial public health burden" said Nazira Amra, M.D., Associate Vice President, Global Anti-Arrhythmics Strategy, sanofi-aventis. "Sanofi-aventis has been supporting AF AWARE since its inception and we are delighted to continue this global initiative in collaboration with the World Heart Federation and Boehringer Ingelheim in order to raise AF awareness and promote better access to information for patients, their caregivers and health care providers."
The World Heart Federation will lead the initiative internationally and will also work closely with SAFE (Stroke Alliance for Europe) and the Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA), to deliver the programme. Agreements have been established with sanofi-aventis and Boehringer Ingelheim for a co-sponsorship.