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Team AFib™ Unites Patient Advocacy Organizations to Elevate Understanding of Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Team AFib™, a coalition of leading patient advocacy organizations, is unveiling a series of initiatives designed to educate Americans about atrial fibrillation (AFib) and its link to stroke(1) during September's National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. Committed to creating a unified approach to raising awareness about AFib and stroke, Team AFib is made up of National Stroke Association,, Mended Hearts, Inc., Veterans of Foreign Wars, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and the National Blood Clot Alliance. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., as a leader in the AFib community, is proud to sponsor Team AFib.

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat and a common, serious form of heart arrhythmia(1) that impacts more than 2.3 million Americans.(2)  Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke nearly five-fold(3) and strokes associated with AFib can be twice as deadly(4) or disabling as other types of stroke.(5) The good news is this risk can be significantly reduced.(6)

Team AFib's first initiative is an educational video that takes people on a journey through the body of an AFib patient to show how the heart does not beat the way it should, which can result in the formation of blood clots that can travel from the heart to the brain and cause a stroke.(1) The animated experience, called AFib InSight™, can be found online at and will be featured at the Team AFib booth at health events across the country. Booth visitors can wear goggles that provide a 3D view of the experience and experts will be on hand to answer questions about the condition. Team AFib and the AFib InSight tour will be in Los Angeles, CA for the "Life @50+ AARP National Event & Expo" on Sept. 22-24. Check for additional tour stops and more information.

"It's important for patients to understand that, with or without symptoms, AFib is a serious condition that can increase their stroke risk by nearly fivefold," said Lisa M. Tate, chief executive officer, WomenHeart. "The AFib InSight experience as well as other resources available at help visitors better understand the condition and we hope it will motivate patients to speak with their healthcare provider about ways to reduce their stroke risk."

Team AFib also will host a webinar focusing on the importance of a healthcare team on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. ET. "AFib CARE: Creating A Role for Effective Teams" will feature expert panelists and founder Mellanie True Hills who will provide guidance on how patients can better work with members of their healthcare team to reduce their risk of AFib-related stroke. To learn more and register for the free webinar, visit

"Successful AFib management requires collaboration between a person's entire care team and each member plays an important role in reducing a patient's stroke risk," said Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, FACC, FAHA and Team AFib webinar panelist. "I often find patients who bring loved ones to their appointments have an increased understanding of the link between AFib and stroke, and they work together to reduce the patient's risk."

To learn more about Team AFib, as well as AFib and its link to stroke, patients and their loved ones can visit The website offers valuable tools and educational resources, such as webinars and podcasts featuring AFib experts, and a stroke risk assessment tool.  

About AFib and Stroke

Atrial fibrillation is associated with up to 15 percent of all strokes in the U.S.(3) and nearly 350,000 hospitalizations every year are attributed to the condition.(7) It is projected that 5.6 million U.S. adults will have the condition by 2050.(2) Some people with AFib have no symptoms at all, while others experience one or more symptoms including, irregular heartbeat, fluttering in the chest, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, weakness, faintness, fatigue when exercising or sweating.(1)

Team AFib Organizations

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the founding sponsor of Team AFib, has joined with six leading patient advocacy organizations to help raise public awareness of AFib and its related increased stroke risk:

National Stroke Association is the only national organization in the United States that focuses 100 percent of its efforts on stroke. The organization achieves its mission to lower the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling community outreach programs, calling for continued improvement in the quality of stroke patient care and educating both healthcare professionals and the general public about stroke. Visit or call 1-800-STROKES (1-800-787-6537) for more information. Join our Facebook page at founder, Mellanie True Hills, created the site as part of the American Foundation for Women's Health to share what she and other AFib patients have learned and to provide others with information and answers to their questions. is a patient-to-patient resource to help patients understand and manage their AFib so it doesn't rule their lives. The site reaches out to patients, families, and caregivers, who all deal with the life-changing impact of AFib. also contains an AFib Services Locator to help patients find the right resources for treating and managing their AFib. (

Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization run by patients. Mended Hearts has been offering the gift of hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers for 60 years. Recognized for its role in facilitating a positive patient-care experience, Mended Hearts partners with 460 hospitals and rehabilitation clinics and offers services to heart patients through visiting programs, support group meetings and educational forums. Their mission is to "inspire hope in heart disease patients and their families." (

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) honors those who have served in the military through awareness and advocacy. The VFW also advocates for veteran health, and engages in awareness campaigns for heart disease and stroke among returning service members and veterans. The VFW is a strong voice on Capitol Hill and in local government groups. AFib is most dangerous among older members of the population, and the VFW helps increase awareness among members of that critical group. (

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is the nation's only patient-centered organization serving the 42 million American women living with or at risk for heart disease – the number one killer of women. WomenHeart is solely devoted to advancing women's heart health through advocacy, community education, and the nation's only patient support network for women living with heart disease. WomenHeart is both a coalition and a community of thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, physicians, and health advocates, all committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. Women can receive a free online heart health action kit at

National Blood Clot Alliance is a patient-driven health advocacy group that also counts leaders in the healthcare profession among its members. The organization focuses on patient education, professional development and public awareness. It provides resources including lists of health professionals, information on medication and screening for patients. (

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter at

©2011 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All rights reserved.
Team AFib™ and AFib InSight™ are trademarks of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI).

(1) NHLBI website. "What is AFib?" Available at: Accessed on: July 19, 2011.

(2) Go, A.S., et al. "Prevalence of Diagnosed Atrial Fibrillation in Adults: National Implications for Rhythm Management and Stroke Prevention: the AnTicoagulation and Risk Factors in Atrial Fibrillation (ATRIA) Study." JAMA. 2001; 285:2370-2375.

(3) Fuster, V., et al. "ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation – Executive Summary: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the European Society of Cardiology Committee for Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Revise the 2001 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation):  Developed in Collaboration With the European Heart Rhythm Association and the Heart Rhythm Society." Circulation. 2006; 114:700-752.

(4) Lin, H., et al. "Stroke Severity in Atrial Fibrillation: The Framingham Study." Stroke. 1996; 27:1760-1764.

(5) Dulli, D.A., et al. "Atrial Fibrillation is Associated with Severe Acute Ischemic Stroke." Neuroepidemiology. 2003; 22:118-123.

(6) Hart, R.G., et al. "Meta-analysis: Antithrombotic Therapy to Prevent Stroke in Patients Who Have Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation." Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007; 146:857-867.

(7) Coyne, K.S., et al. "Assessing the Direct Costs of Treating Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation in the United States." Value in Health.  2006; 9:348-356.

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