According to a recent study, over 75 percent of those age 65 and older are not screened for atrial fibrillation (AF) and similar stroke risk markers during primary care exams despite that demographic being prone to stroke, a Bristol-Myers Squibb release said.
The study, “Preventing Stroke: Uneven Progress,” conducted by The Economist newspaper’s Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, assessed populations in 20 nations and concluded that screening protocols vary widely, the release said.
“Even modest improvements in diagnosis and treatment of stroke risk factors including AF – supported by collaborations across health care providers, advocates, policymakers and the private sector – could potentially prevent many strokes and related deaths,” Pfizer Chief Medical Officer Rory O’Connor said in the release. O'Connor also said that individuals with AF are three times as likely to suffer strokes as others.
According to the release, the report illuminated three main findings: a gap between common clinical routines and what is considered best practice, AF and hypertension screening rates are low and inconsistently administered and the need for policy to enable higher awareness of stroke risk factors.
“Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for 6.2 million deaths, but is nearly 80 percent preventable,” Becca Lipman, editor for EIU’s thought leadership division and the report, said in the release. “Our hope is that this research will elevate the awareness and urgency surrounding screening for stroke risk factors including AF and hypertension and offer suggestions on what can be done on a country-by-country level to further improve prevention.”