Leading Experts Call for Urgent Action to Avoid Stroke Crisis Across Asia-Pacific Region

By Action For Stroke Prevention, PRNE
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Experts from medical and patient communities call on national policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region to take urgent action against preventable strokes that strike millions of people with atrial fibrillation (AF) each year

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, May 6, 2011 - According to a new report, How Can We Avoid a
Stroke Crisis in the Asia-Pacific Region?, urgent coordinated action is
needed to avoid millions of preventable strokes, which leave many patients
who have atrial fibrillation (AF) both mentally and physically disabled, or
dead, every year.

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The report, launched today during the 18th Asian Pacific Congress of
Cardiology (APCC) by Action for Stroke Prevention, a group of health experts
from across the globe, proposes urgent measures to prevent stroke in
Asia-Pacific patients with AF, the most common, sustained abnormal heart
rhythm and a major cause of stroke.(2) The report's recommendations are
endorsed by 32 leading Asia-Pacific and other global medical societies and
patient organizations, reinforcing and recognizing the need for a call to

A stroke epidemic across the Asia-Pacific region, and indeed the rest of
the world, is imminent if actions are not taken now to slow the rising tide
of preventable strokes occurring every year. Dr. Sim Kui Hian, Head,
Department of Cardiology and Head, Clinical Research Centre, Sarawak General
Hospital, Malaysia, commented, "The incidence of stroke across the
Asia-Pacific region is continuing to grow and constitutes both a major public
health issue and a significant economic burden. Members of Action for Stroke
Prevention have come together to highlight the risk of a stroke crisis and
urge policymakers, national governments, healthcare professionals, patient
groups and medical societies to act together now to prevent the devastating
impact stroke has on people, their families and carers."

Recommendations made by the Report include:

- Improving awareness of the impact of AF and AF-related stroke

- Developing methods for early and adequate diagnosis of AF and stroke
risk assessment

- Taking new and better approaches to prevent stroke in patients with AF

- Facilitating the exchange of best practice between national governments
in the Asia-Pacific region

- Developing strategies to support adherence to guidelines

- Providing equal and adequate administration of therapy for patients
with AF across countries in the Asia-Pacific region

- Advancing research into the causes, prevention and management of AF,
and addressing the current paucity of epidemiological information available
in Asia-Pacific

Strokes are preventable - prevent them

"With the majority of AF-related strokes being preventable, we believe
that implementation of these recommendations now will contribute to the
prevention of stroke in patients with AF and, in turn, reduce the
dramatically increasing clinical, economic, and social burden of stroke in
Asia-Pacific," said Professor Gregory Lip, Professor of Cardiovascular
Medicine, University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, City
Hospital, Birmingham, UK.

Every year, 15 million people worldwide experience a stroke.(12)
Approximately five million of these suffer permanent disabilities and over
five million more die, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths

In the Asia-Pacific region in 2004, the approximate number of patients
who had survived a stroke at some point in their lifetime was 4.4 million in
Southeast Asia and 9.1 million in the Western Pacific region.(14) In the same
year, the number of first-ever strokes was 5.1 million across these
regions.(15) This was higher than the estimated number of new cases of

People who suffer a stroke caused by AF are more likely to remain in the
hospital longer, are less likely to be discharged home, and are 50 percent
more likely to remain disabled(16,17) than patients who have a stroke
unrelated to AF. An increasing number of people in the Asia-Pacific region
are living with AF. In China alone, up to eight million people suffer from

"Every year millions of people with AF who suffer a stroke are left
disabled, regardless of their age," said Trudie Lobban, Founder and Trustee,
Arrhythmia Alliance, and Co-founder and CEO, Atrial Fibrillation Association.
"If we do not suffer with AF ourselves, we will almost certainly care for or
know someone who does. It is imperative that we all act together to improve
the diagnosis and management of AF if we are to prevent the enormous
life-changing consequences that stroke has for patients and carers."

The current economic burden of strokes on national economies in
Asia-Pacific is significant. For example, China will lose $558 billion in
national income due to the combined consequences of heart disease, stroke,
and diabetes.(20)

More significantly, the impact of stroke is predicted to rise
dramatically as the number of individuals affected by AF is expected to
increase due to an ageing population and improved survival of patients with
conditions which predispose AF (e.g., heart attack).

Action for Stroke Prevention is supported by an educational grant from
Bayer HealthCare. The report, and all related materials, has been determined
by the authors independently of Bayer HealthCare.


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Accessed March 2011

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fibrillation. The Copenhagen Stroke Study. Stroke 1996;27:1765-9

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19. Hu D, Sun Y. Epidemiology, risk factors for stroke, and management of
atrial fibrillation in China. JACC 2008;52:865-8

20. World Health Organization. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs): Fact sheet
No 317. 2011 www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/index.html.
Accessed March 2011




Contacts: Linda Rose, Email: l.rose at togorun.net, Tel: +44-(0)20-7281-3061. Erika Aalto, Email: e.aalto at togorun.net, Tel: +44-(0)20-7554-1708. Melissa Gonzalez, Email: m.gonzalez at togorun.net, Tel: +1-(212)-453-2047

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