Empowering Oldham women with knowledge about Atrial Fibrillation

Date published: 23 November 2018

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A pioneering approach to improve detection of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) has been launched in Oldham as a group of mums are using a potentially-lifesaving mobile heart monitor to test those in their community and beyond.

Health Innovation Manchester has provided the Women’s CHAI (Care, Help and Inspire) Project with AliveCor Kardia mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) devices, a credit card-sized device which can detect AF, an irregular heart rhythm, in just 30 seconds.

AF is the most common heart rhythm disorder and is a common contributing factor for stroke.

In AF, the heart’s upper chambers contract randomly and sometimes so fast that the heart muscle cannot relax properly between contractions.

This reduces the heart’s efficiency and performance.

It is estimated that within Greater Manchester there are over 15,000 people who have AF but have not yet been identified, including 1,800 in Oldham.

The ladies from CHAI have received training to use the devices from Health Innovation Manchester, the body responsible for accelerating the discovery and implementation of innovation into the health and care system, and will be able to undertake tests within the South Asian community as well as raise awareness of AF.

It comes as Health Innovation Manchester marks AF Association’s Global AF Aware Week (November 19-25) which aims to raise awareness of the heart rhythm disorder and how early detection and monitoring can pave the way for better treatment, including avoidance of illness, disability and premature death associated with AF-related strokes.

Najma Khalid, founder of Women’s CHAI Project, said: “Before taking part in the training with Health Innovation Manchester, we didn’t really know anything about AF or why it was such a serious condition.

“Our ladies have now been empowered with knowledge about AF and the ability to raise awareness and test people, particularly among the South Asian community who may not feel engaged with healthcare services and are at higher risk of having a stroke.”

The Women’s CHAI Project receive training to use AF detection devices with Health Innovation Manchester

She added that since taking part in the training and receiving the devices just a month ago, the CHAI ladies have been busy testing family members, friends and members of the community with two potential undiagnosed AF patients discovered and referred to their GP.

Najma continued: “The device is simple to use and we’ve had lots of enthusiasm about the testing so far.

"We’re keen to use it to test people at events throughout Oldham and through visits to other community groups and organisations.

“The test is so quick and it is great to know that you could potentially be saving someone’s life in 30 seconds.”

As part of the Greater Manchester Healthy Hearts programme, Health Innovation Manchester has also provided NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups with devices which have been deployed to local GPs, practice nurses and practice-based pharmacists to assess how they can benefit primary care.

It is estimated that if 85% of those with AF were identified and correctly treated, 371 strokes could be prevented, potentially saving 93 lives and £8million in savings to the NHS in Greater Manchester.

Anyone who is concerned about Atrial Fibrillation is advised to contact their GP.

Have a look at a video (below) of the Oldham CHAI Project discussing their AF awareness training and using the devices in the community.

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The Oldham CHAI Project discussing their AF awareness training and using the devices in the community visit