Atrial Fibrillation

Detecting undiagnosed AF has become much simpler with the advent of equipment such as AliveCor, which can be operated by a healthcare assistant, provided there are qualified personnel who can follow up with a full ECG, if AF is suspected.

As you will see below, we have created a video of how to use AliveCor in a consultation.

There is also a practical handbook that discusses this in more detail. This can be found below.

Patients with AF are often poor compliers with their medication. Sometimes they are concerned that too much medication will cause a bleed, and they therefore stop taking the drug. However, it is vital that they continue to take it regularly, to prevent clotting. Understanding the mechanism of AF is vital for good concordance, and the Manage Your Health app, created by Keele University, the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and Stoke-on-Trent CCG which is free to download, has useful information which patients can have on their smartphone.

There is a lot of information in the app, which patients need to understand if they are to take their medication regularly. It would be a good idea to recommend the app to them, so they will know how important it is to keep taking the medication. One of the features of the app is this explanation of the seriousness of AF in relation to having a stroke; watch it below.

Flo is often used to remind patients to take their tablets, and even though it is just a computerised message, some patients feel that there is a person who is keeping watch over them. There are some videos below showing how Flo works.

A closed Facebook group, set up by the AF team at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, has been a great success, with several hundred patients joining to support and be supported by each other. In addition, a Facebook page, directed towards the general public and to AF patients and their relatives, provides information about the condition, and is supplemented by videos of experts who have recorded talks given to patients, so the page often has fresh material, which encourages people to return to the site.

Reviews of patients may be carried out via video consultation, e.g. via Skype, which provides more information than just a telephone consultation. For more details, see the section on Skype in TECS in Use.