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CUHK Advocates Atrial Fibrillation Screening and Drug Education

The prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) grows with the ageing population. According to global research, one in every five people aged 65 years and above will develop AF. The Faculty of Medicine has been running an AF screening programme for the elderly in the community since 2013. The screening result showed that around 7% of the elderly suffering from AF are unaware of their condition and have little knowledge about the disease. In view of the situation, the Faculty of Medicine will conduct a large-scale AF screening and strengthen drug education to raise the awareness towards AF among the elderly.

A team of student volunteers led by Prof. Vivian Lee (2nd right) of the School of Pharmacy and Prof. Bryan Yan (2nd left) of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutic conducted AF screening for 1,581 older people aged 65 or above in the community with the use of a handheld ECG device between 2013 and 2014. The screening result shows that 110 (7%) older people were detected as having AF. Only 7.7% of the participants heard of AF and less than 5% were aware of the associated risk of stroke, indicating that the elderly in Hong Kong do not have much knowledge about AF.

'The recent research reveals that 7% of the participants are suffering from AF. Based on data from the Census and Statistics Department, we can estimate that 60,000 older people are suffering from AF without knowing, indicating the importance of carrying out an AF screening programme. Drug education and individual follow-up are also essential for effective treatment and stroke prevention, given that most of the elderly have little knowledge about the disease and drug,' explained Professor Lee.

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