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Ambassador for Atrial Fibrillation Association recognised with national healthcare pioneers award

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An ambassador for an association that helps detect and prevent people who could be at risk of a stroke has been recognised with a national award.

Ben Lord, of Ixworth, who works on behalf of the Atrial Fibrillation Association, has received a national healthcare pioneers award.

The AF Association helps detect people with atrial fibrillation (AF), a common heart rhythm condition which, if left undiagnosed, can cause fatal strokes.

Ben Lord has been recognised with a national healthcare pioneers award. Picture: Mark Westley.
Ben Lord has been recognised with a national healthcare pioneers award. Picture: Mark Westley.

Ben said: "I am extremely humbled yet particularly proud to receive this recognition.

"Just over four years ago, my grandad died following a stroke caused by atrial fibrillation.

"The effects on our family were devastating, not least in his sudden death but the impact it had on our family dynamics where he was the primary carer for my nan.

"From one of the darkest periods of my life, I have been determined to, wherever possible, help others avoid what our family could have through my grandad’s avoidable stroke.

"Detection opportunities are vital to improving outcomes for patients and I have been able to demonstrate this through a novel project that I created working alongside COVID-19 vaccination clinics in East Anglia where, as volunteers working with clinicians, we have undertaken over 1,500 pulse checks and found over 100 people to be in AF, the vast majority of which were oblivious to that as well as the risk of stroke and heart failure."

"Whilst more than a million people have been diagnosed with AF in the UK, over 500,000 people unknowingly have the condition.

"Many of these people will be over 65 where they have an elevated risk of stroke and heart failure if left undetected and undiagnosed.

"Sadly, many do not get detected until they have had a stroke."

Ben was recognised with his award at the Global AF Awareness Week, which is running from yesterday until Sunday.

Throughout the week, the AF Association is looking to promote the key messages of the need to detect AF with a simple pulse check and protect against AF-related stroke with anticoagulation therapy, then correct the irregular rhythm with access to appropriate treatments, in order to perfect the patient care pathway.

Ben said it was hoped the 'evidence and efficacy' of the AF Association project would influence the development of a national screening programme for AF.

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