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AF Aware Week

21-27 November 2016


AF Aware Week helps raise awareness of atrial fibrillation and this year highlights the importance of detecting via a simple pulse check, protecting against AF-related stroke through the use of appropriate anticoagulation and ultimately correcting the heart rhythm.

Key Messages 

1. One in four people will develop AF; it affects an estimated 1.5 million  across the UK and in excess of 16 million worldwide.

2. Every 15 seconds someone suffers an AF-related stroke. AF is the most powerful single risk factor for suffering a deadly or debilitating stroke.

3. AF can be detected cheaply and easily with simple manual pulse checks.

4. Treatment with an anticoagulant is vital to reducing the risk of stroke.

5. For AF Aware Week, make the detection and protection of AF a priority. 

The aims of AF Aware Week are simple:


A simple pulse check is the easiest way to detect the irregular heart rhythm. The importance of pulse checks should be widely publicised and undertaken both inside and outside of medical practices.


AF is the single most relevant risk factor for stroke, increasing an individual's risk five-fold and being responsible for at least 20% of all ischaemic strokes. AF-related strokes have the worst prognosis for severe disabling and mortality rates.

Identifying and treating AF at an early stage will deliver significant health and cost benefits. 


Early detection, diagnosis and appropriate medical management leads to fewer appointments and admissions, saving individuals from long term ill-health. Information regarding AF risks, symptoms and therapy options should be routinely made available to all suspected and diagnosed patients and their carers.

Patients should be monitored and reviewed within four weeks of initiation of therapy and referred for specialist consideration if first line therapy has not sufficiently improved symptoms.

What can I do to help?

There are many ways to get involved with AF Aware Week:

1. Give information to your friends and family such as our Know Your Pulse information sheet and Know Your Pulse poster to educate on how to monitor your heart rhythm.  Information resources can be found here.

2. Display and share information about AF and the risk of AF-related stroke, importance of being anticoagulated and treatment to reduce symptoms of AF in your local centres, which provide support and information.

3. Share your story - AF Aware Week generates interest nationally, regionally as well as locally; share your story to help many others affected by atrial fibrillation - you can make a difference.  Our Patient Services team are here to help by email: or call: 01789 867502.  Please contact us if you would be willing to share  your story, it helps others going through similar experiences and reassures those who are just beginning their AF journey.

4. Volunteer your time and hold an AF Pulse Awareness event in collaboration with your local leisure centre, health centre or workplace.  We have a large number of resources for such events; these can be downloaded from our website or contact  Please contact us now and we can help you to help us spread the word.

5. Fundraise for us, for example by baking some goodies to sell, holding a coffee morning, quiz night or create your own event.  You may also wish to become a Friend of AF Association.

6. Make a donation to enable us to continue to raise awareness and offer support by giving us a call on 01789 867502 or send a cheque to: AF Association, PO Box 6219, Shipston on Stour, CV37 INL.

7. Write to your MP using our letter template and include our MP to CCG template letter.


How else can you get involved?

Healthcare Professionals

1. Share the AF Revalidation Tool with your network to dispel the aspirin myth in prevention of stroke.

2. Sign up to the Heart of AF and access the latest resources and tools on AF.

3. Register your details to the Heart Rhythm Specialists directory.

4. Write to your MP using our template letter and include our MP to CCG template letter.

Members of Parliament

1. Write to your CCG using our template letter.

Awareness Posters

Detect. Protect. Correct.

Know Your Pulse

Pulse Check Event


Educational Resources

Pulse Check Sheet

'Your Heart in Your Hands' Checklist


Blood Thinning and Atrial Fibrillation

Dabigatran Etexilate

Pill-in-the-pocket Cardioversion

Rate versus Rhythm Management


Transcatheter closure of the left atrial appendage

Warfarin and diet

Warfarin and other medication


The other resources we have available are:

  • AF Association Bookmark
  • Know Your Pulse Stickers
  • Referral letter (for pulse check events)

If you would like any of the above resources, please contact:

Further information resources are available for download here.

For further information on AF Aware Week contact / +44 (0) 1789 867502 

Click here to view information on previous AF Aware Weeks.