About atrial fibrillation (AF) and stroke

Atrial fibrillation causes an irregular (and sometimes abnormally fast) heartbeat, which can slow down the flow of blood through the heart and arteries, leading to blood clots that can trigger a stroke.1 A stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical event that causes the blood supply to part of the brain to be cut off. 1 in 4 people who suffer a stroke die and many live with debilitating side effects as a result of a stroke4

Alt text

1 PERSON has a stroke every 5 MINUTES in the UK1 20% of these are AF related.1

What you need to know about AF and stroke:

  • AF increases the chances of suffering a stroke by up to six times2
  • One person has a stroke every five minutes in the UK1
  • Atrial fibrillation can affect anyone at any age, but is most common in those aged 65 or over1,3
  • 50% of people living with the condition don’t realise they have it, and many people don’t recognise the symptoms until they have a life-threatening stroke1
  • Stroke caused by atrial fibrillation is more likely to cause death and disability than other types of stroke and it is most likely to happen again1
  • Better awareness and management of atrial fibrillation could help prevent up to 7,000 strokes and 2,000 premature deaths each year2
  1. 1. Atrial Fibrillation Association & Anticoagulation Europe (UK). The AF Report. 2012. Available at: http://www.preventaf-strokecrisis.org/files/files/The%20AF%20Report%2014%20April%202012.pd. [Last accessed October 2016]
  2. 2. ABPI Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation Initiative (SAFI). One Year On: Why are patients still having unnecessary AF-related strokes? 2016. Available at: http://www.abpi.org.uk/media-centre/newsreleases/2016/Documents/Embargo9May_ABPI_OneYearOn_FINALREPORT.pdf. [Last accessed October 2016]
  3. 3. British Heart Foundation. Atrial fibrillation booklet. 2015. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/heart-conditions/atrial-fibrillatio. [Last accessed October 2016]
  4. 4. Stroke Association. State of the nation: stroke statistics. 2016. Available at: https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/stroke_statistics_2015.pd. [Last accessed October 2016]