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Over 3000 North London residents at high risk of stroke receive potentially lifesaving therapy

7 February 2020
Recently released figures reveal that a programme rolled out across north central and north east London to reduce strokes related to an irregular heart rhythm have led to an additional 3,050 people receiving potentially lifesaving therapy over the last year. This is expected to prevent an additional 80 life-changing strokes this year and every year in the future.

Since 2018, UCLPartners has been working closely with local health services to identify and treat people living with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) – a common type of irregular heart rhythm that can increase risk of stroke.

It is estimated that over 100,000 people living within the UCLPartners footprint have the condition, but some remain undiagnosed. AF is responsible for approximately 20% of all strokes and can leave survivors with disabling consequences. Health and social care costs for every stroke equate to around £45,000 over five years.

Over the past year, efforts by UCLPartners in collaboration with healthcare services in north central and north east London have resulted in a significant increase in the number of people living with AF receiving anticoagulants – a blood-thinning medication to prevent clots that can more than halve the risk of having a stroke. Between April 2018 and March 2019 anticoagulation rates in these areas rose from 80.5% to 82.7%.

This increase in people receiving this lifesaving therapy is due in the most part to a ‘virtual clinic’ model rolled out in the area, which partners anticoagulant specialists (usually pharmacists of nurses) with GPs, who advise on the best treatment for people identified as having AF.

Over the last two years, UCLPartners has also distributed 670 mobile ECG devices across the partnership, which has contributed to the increase in those living with AF receiving a diagnosis.

Dr Matt Kearney, Programme Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention said:

“Stroke can result in premature deaths and for those who survive, the consequences of stroke can be life changing. Improving the detection and management of high-risk conditions such as atrial fibrillation to reduce stroke is a key element of the NHS Long Term Plan. Our work is supporting delivery of this and helping to protect the health of our local population. 

“We’re delighted that we have been able to identify and treat so many in our region living with AF and we will continue working with our partners to identify those still undiagnosed”

Following this success, UCLPartners will now be working with local health services to improve the detection and treatment of two other high risk conditions – high blood pressure and high cholesterol – in order to help prevent hundreds of heart attacks and strokes in north London communities.

Read more about the work we are doing to prevent CVD