Many Aging Americans Unfamiliar with AFib and Stroke Risk {Interview}

Many Aging Americans Unfamiliar with AFib and Stroke Risk {Interview}

New National Survey Suggests Many Undiagnosed Adults, Aged 40 and Older With One or More Risk Factors, May Not Believe They Are at Risk for AFib,1 a Leading Cause of Stroke2

Despite atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common type of irregular heartbeat,3 being a leading cause of stroke,2 many adults aged 40 and older are not familiar with the condition,1 according to a poll of 1,010 U.S. adults. The new national survey of 1,010 U.S. adults and 500 AFib patients aged 40 and older was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Matter of Moments, an initiative from the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance. The survey results show there’s opportunity for improved understanding about AFib and the increase in stroke risk.

The prevalence of AFib is higher in people aged 65 and older.4 As our country’s population ages, the number of cases is projected to rise– potentially affecting more than 12 million Americans by 20306 – and the impact of not understanding the symptoms or risk factors of AFib could be significant. Compared to non-AFib-related strokes, strokes related to AFib are more likely to be debilitating or fatal.6,7 Public education on AFib risk factors, symptoms and the connection to stroke could help prepare those at a higher risk to bring the topic up with their doctors.

Today, AFib patient and stroke survivor Frank, considers himself lucky that his AFib-related stroke wasn’t any more severe – and wishes that he had taken his heart health more seriously, despite his active lifestyle. The importance of education on the condition is not lost on Frank.

Join me in a recently interview during AFib Awareness Month with Frank, and joined by cardiologist Dr. Andrea Russo, president of the Heart Rhythm Society, as they discussed AFib symptoms and risk factors, stroke-risk, the new survey results, and the importance of raising awareness of AFib.

Survey results for discussion include:1

See the entire interview here:

For more information, to

More About Dr. Russo

Dr. Russo is Director of Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Services at Cooper University Hospital, Director of the CCEP Fellowship program and Professor of Medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. She has served on numerous HRS committees and task forces and is a member of the Heart Rhythm Journal editorial board. In addition, she has served as co-chair or member on several guideline, consensus document or Appropriate Use Criteria writing groups. Dr. Russo received her medical degree from Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York. She did her residency at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and her fellowship training at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Cooper Hospital. Areas of particular interest include implantable cardioverter defibrillators, totally subcutaneous devices, atrial fibrillation, sex differences in arrhythmias and performance improvement activities. Dr. Russo has been recognized many times as a “Top Doctor” in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Interview/Content is courtesy: BMS-Pfizer Alliance

This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Pfizer and BMS among 1,010 U.S. adults 40+ and 500 atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients ages 40+ between May 9 and May 28, 2019. Figures for age by gender, education, income, race/ethnicity, region, size of household, marital status, and employment status were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in their respective population.


  1. Pfizer/BMS MoM Survey conducted by The Harris Poll, May 2019.
  2. Heart Rhythm Society. Complications from Atrial Fibrillation. Accessed August 2019. Available at:
  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Atrial fibrillation. Accessed March 1, 2019.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Atrial fibrillation fact sheet. Accessed March 1, 2019.
  5. Colilla S, Crow A, Petkun W, Singer DE, Simon T, Liu X. Estimates of current and future incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the U.S. adult population. Am J Cardiol. 2013;112(8):1142–1147.
  6. January CT, Wann LS, Alpert JS, et al for the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS guideline for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation. A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on practice guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(21):e1-e76.
  7. Lin H-J, Wolf PA, Kelly-Hayes M, et al. Stroke severity in atrial fibrillation: the Framingham study. Stroke. 1996;27(10):1760-1764.

Cynthia Tait

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