AF Aware Week

23-29 November 2015


AF Aware Week helps raise awareness of atrial fibrillation and this year 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.

Event highlights:

Pulse check event at

Hollywood Hospital, WA. 

Tracy Swanson, Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist and her team held a Know Your Pulse clinic at the start of AF Aware Week. A total of 41 individuals were assessed. Eight people were detected with an irregular rhythm and a further eight signposted for follow up with their GP. Alongside pulse checks, education resources were provided to all who attended.

Awareness display at Princess Alexandra Hospital

Sanja Doneva, Senior Cardiac Scientist EP, organised an awareness stand at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and put up posters in the coronary care and cardiology ward.

Summary of further activities in Australia during the course of the week

  • Resources shared with hospitals, GPs and pharmacies across the country

  • Endorsement by HeartKids, CSANZ and Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute
  • Call to get people talking on social media, encouraging Facebook page followers to include mention of whether their pulse was "regular" or "irregular" in their status updates
  • AF Aware Week featured on international Macedonian radio

How AF aware are you?

Take the AF Challenge today to test your knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of AF.

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. Futher information resources can be be found here.

2. Display and share information about AF and anticoagulation in your  local centres, which provide support and information to those aged 65 or more.

3. Share your story - AF Aware Week generates media interest nationally, regionally as well as locally, share your story to help others.

4. Volunteer your time and hold an AF Pulse Aware event in collaboration with your local leisure centre, health centre or workplace.

5. Fundraise, for example baking some goodies to sell at school, work or from your own home to help raise funds or become a friend of  AF Association.

Click here to download your educational resources.


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.