Atrial Fibrillation — also known as AFib or AF — is the most common arrhythmia. It affects more than 2.5 million American adults and 4.5 million people living in the European Union, and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.
It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual's quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, debilitating pain and can increase the risk of stroke fivefold.
The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and National Stroke Association, in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), fielded an Atrial Fibrillation - Impact of Stroke Survey in May of 2014 to physicians, atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients and caregivers. The purpose of the survey was to measure awareness about AFib and stroke, determine baseline understanding of risk factors, and identify barriers to communication between patients/caregivers and providers.