New devices in every practice will help protect patients from stroke

Each GP surgery in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is to be equipped with an innovative new mobile device that could help prevent the devastating impact of stroke.

It represents an investment that could benefit around 6,700 patients at risk of stroke, because of previously undetected irregular heart rhythms.

The AliveCor devices detect irregular heart rhythms quickly and easily, allowing patients to be referred for follow up care. Treatment is usually through blood-thinning medication to prevent clots that lead to stroke.

Leading GP, for the Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, Dr Ruth Chambers said: “These devices are small, simple, portable and relatively inexpensive. They can used by GPs in surgery or they can be taken out on home visits.

“The impact of a stroke can be devastating to the patient. These devices will be a valuable addition to our practices and another example of how new and relatively inexpensive technology can help us safeguard patients through early prevention, in this case through detection of Atrial Fibrillation (AF).”

The £11,000 funding comes from the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups and a grant from the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

Around 420,000 people in the UK are estimated to have irregular heart rhythms, usually without obvious symptoms.

The devices will start to be issued to practices later this year and a number of training events are planned to prepare clinicians in their use and to highlight the risks of AF.

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