Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition) Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition)
Rev Esp Cardiol. 2013;66:34-8 - Vol. 66 Num.01 DOI: 10.1016/j.rec.2012.05.009

A Campaign for Information and Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation: “Pulse Week”

Marcelo Sanmartín a,, Francisco Fraguela Fraga b, Ángel Martín-Santos c, Pilar Moix Blázquez d, Alba García-Ruiz a, María Vázquez-Caamaño a, Manuel Vilar a

a Servicio de Cardiología, Hospital Povisa, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain
b Centro de Salud de Beiramar, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain
c Centro de Salud de Coruxo, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain
d Centro de Salud de Moaña, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain

Keywords

Atrial fibrillation. Arrhythmia. Stroke.

Abstract

Introduction and objectives

Atrial fibrillation occurs in 5%-15% of elderly patients and causes one-fourth to one-fifth of all cerebrovascular events. These patients are frequently asymptomatic. We conducted a public campaign aiming to evaluate the effectiveness of a program for information on and diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in individuals aged 65 years old or more from the primary care perspective.

Methods

We sent letters containing informative materials and an invitation to attend a special nurse appointment to all individuals≥65 years old, without a previous diagnosis of atrial fibrillation or flutter. Patients were from 3 specific areas in Pontevedra province. The procedures were performed according to a specially designed program called “Pulse Week” within 5 working days. A group of trained nurses obtained a brief medical history and performed pulse palpation for 15 s and blood pressure measurement. A complete 12-lead electrocardiogram was performed if arrhythmic pulsations were detected.

Results

A total of 8869 letters were sent. During the specified week, 1532 individuals were evaluated (877 women); the mean age was 72.5 (6.5) years old, 833 had hypertension (54%), 232 had diabetes (15%), 61 had previous stroke (4%) and 88 had had a myocardial infarction (6%). Electrocardiograms were performed in 187 patients. There were 17 patients with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation.

Conclusions

A public, 5-day campaign based on pulse palpation and targeting elderly individuals had little impact on the detection of new cases of atrial fibrillation in our environment.

1885-5857/© 2013 Sociedad Española de Cardiología. Published by Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved

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