Doctors hail dramatic reduction in strokes

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Hundreds of patients at risk of stroke are being targeted in a ground-breaking project in the region.

GPs in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven say more than 6,000 patients live with the ticking timebomb of atrial fibrillation (AF) in their area.

The condition triggers abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart which can dramatically increase the risk of a stroke.

Now in an initiative said to be the first of its kind in the UK, many more are being prescribed anticoagulent drugs in a move doctors at 60 practices in the area believe will lead to 200 fewer strokes a year - equivalent to 10,000 fewer across the UK.

GP Matt Fay, a specialist in cardiology, who led the project, said: “This project has resulted in a dramatic positive effect on the health of patients. All strokes are devastating but AF strokes are bigger and potentially lethal.

“However, the good news is that we know when prescribed anticoagulant drugs, these strokes can be avoided.

“We have always known this yet too many patients are still being given aspirin when they could be given anticoagulants. It’s important that we continue to check patients for irregular heartbeat; that way, if AF is diagnosed, we can make sure they receive the right treatment and medication.”

Abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart can affect four in every 100 people over the age of 65 in the UK.