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Report wants Europe to act on stroke

Medical and patient community experts call on Europe's policy makers to take urgent action on preventable strokes that strike atrial fibrillation patients

A report launched today by medical and patient community experts calls on Europe's policy makers to take urgent action against preventable strokes that strike atrial fibrillation (AF) patients.

The report, How Can We Avoid a Stroke Crisis?, by Action for Stroke Prevention, a group of health experts from across Europe including leaders in cardiology, neurology, health economics, policy and patient advocacy, proposes measures to tackle stroke in patients with AF. It calls for urgent co-ordinated action to avoid the thousands of preventable strokes that leave many AF patients mentally and physically disabled or dead, every year.

Launched in the European Parliament, the proposal is endorsed by 17 leading European medical professional and patient organisations and calls for EU policy makers and member state governments to act before the increasing frequency of these strokes becomes a major public health crisis.

Recommendations include improving patient education and stroke risk assessment, taking new approaches to prevention, facilitating the exchange of best practice between member states, developing strategies to support adherence to guidelines, and the provision of equal and adequate administration of therapy for patients with AF.

"It is clear that there is an unmet medical need for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation patients," said Professor Gregory Lip, professor of cardiovascular medicine, from the University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, City Hospital Birmingham, UK. "The majority of such strokes are preventable but the under-diagnosis and poor management of AF patients, as well as suboptimal use of anticoagulation and side-effects of current treatments, mean that an unnecessary and heavy burden is placed on patients, their families and carers, as well as our healthcare systems."

9th December 2009

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