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Health and Advocacy Leaders Mobilize to Bring Attention to Atrial Fibrillation, a Costly and Misunderstood Cardiovascular Disease
Date:5/18/2009

Survey Shows Patient and Healthcare Professionals are 'Out of Sync' About

Potential Serious Health Consequences

WASHINGTON, May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the nation's 76 million Baby Boomers approach their Medicare years, a diverse group of healthcare leaders today joined together to launch AF Stat(TM): A Call to Action for Atrial Fibrillation (AF Stat), and announce the formation of the AF Stat Working Group. This first-of-its-kind, national initiative aims to elevate understanding, diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation (AFib) among all those affected by this serious and increasingly prevalent cardiovascular disease.

Approximately 2.5 million Americans currently have AFib, but because the risk increases with age, this number is expected to rise dramatically as the U.S. population gets older(1). Characterized by a very irregular and frequently fast heart rate, AFib is associated with a five-fold increase in risk for stroke(2); worsens underlying cardiovascular disease(3) and doubles the risk of all-cause mortality(4). It also costs the nation $6.65 billion annually, much of which could be attributed to the increased hospital in-patient, emergency and medical services utilization rates for people with AFib(5).

"Reducing the impact of chronic diseases is an essential component to health reform discussions," said Senator Bill Frist, M.D., who joined the AF Stat Working Group in the role of health policy advisor. "Per-patient medical costs have been found to be as much as five times more for AFib patients than those without the disease, and the impact disproportionately affects Medicare and Medicaid budgets. A collaborative effort like AF Stat will help uncover better ways to address this manageable disease, and could be an important step in lessening its burden on patients and our healthcare system."

The AF Stat Working Group brings together leade
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SOURCE AF Stat Working Group
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