AFib Awareness Month 2021
Can you imagine what it must be like for a patient to be told they have atrial fibrillation (AFib)? Imagine that they have never heard of this problem. They are now hearing words like cardioversion, transesophageal echocardiogram, anticoagulation and perhaps ablation. They may also become overwhelmed by the various options for treatment.
The U.S. Senate recognized the need to raise awareness, and in 2009, it designated September as National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month.1 Since then, numerous organizations, including the ACC, have promoted public education to recognize the symptoms of AFib and its devastating potential consequence of stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that 12.1 million people in the U.S. will have AFib by 2030.2 That stunning prediction should jolt cardiovascular clinicians into ensuring that our patient interactions include prevention and awareness strategies.
The ACC has a dedicated website to help us educate our patients with various cardiovascular conditions. At CardioSmart.org, there are infographics, videos for patients and more. One strategy you can implement for inpatients with new-onset AFib is to provide them with the AFib infographic. This well-designed graphic discusses AFib, the types, symptoms and treatment and encourages them to seek more information on the CardioSmart.org/AFib website. Tools from the ACC can reinforce the shared decision-making discussions we have with our patients.
An exciting initiative has been announced that includes a collaboration among the ACC, Heart Rhythm Society and Bristol Meyers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance. The new program – called the TRANSFORM: Atrial Fibrillation Quality Initiative (TRANSFORM: AF) – aims to identify high-risk patients in underserved communities to determine the barriers and gaps in care delivery. The program will then inform health care providers of strategies to improve early identification and management of AFib. Telehealth and virtual care strategies, clinician toolkits, patient education tutorials and remote monitoring will be incorporated. Lessons learned from the program will fuel the development of effective tools and resources directed at addressing the gaps in care and improving patients' lives.
Let's approach September with renewed dedication to raising AFib awareness and promoting prevention and detection strategies. Visit CardioSmart.org to help with this vital task. Use the hashtag #AFibAwarenessMonth, and the ACC CV Team Section hashtag #ACCCVT on Twitter to continue this discussion.
You can find links to more ACC AFib resources (guidelines, education, tools like the AnticoagEvaluator App, and more) in the Arrhythmias and Clinical EP Clinical Topic Collection on ACC.org and at CardioSmart.org/AFib. Also visit the JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology collection on Atrial Fibrillation and Arrhythmia Diagnosis & Monitoring – as well as the JACC Journal topic collection on Rhythm Disorders and Electrophysiology.
- Govinfo.gov. (2011, September). Senate congressional record (No. 21459). U.S Government Publishing Office.
- CDC.gov. (2020). Atrial Fibrillation. Accessed September 2021.
This article was authored by Kate Morgan, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC, CHFN, AACC, nurse practitioner at WakeMed Heart & Vascular, @KmorganMsnAcnp.