Check your heart rhythm to prevent stroke

 

If you are 65 or over living in Lewisham borough, you can visit a local pharmacy to check your heart rhythm.  This is a non-invasive test, doing the test is as easy as placing your figures on your smartphone camera for 60 seconds.

Why check your heart rhythm?

Many people who are over the age of 50 years have a heart rhythm that is too high or is missing a beat for a variety of reasons. An irregular heart rhythm could also be a sign of an atrial fibrillation (AF),

AF detection helps to identify people who are unaware that they are living with AF to receive medical support and lifestyle advice to prevent an AF-related stroke.

AF is not immediate life-threatening condition itself, but it can be an indicator for a bigger heart problem. AF increases a person’s risk of developing a stroke, and the episode can happen suddenly.  Not all patients may experience symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, pounding sensation of the chest, weakness or dizziness.

What causes AF

The underlying cause of AF is damaged tissue which can result from:

  • Ageing
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Heart condition
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Thyroid disease
  • Drug and alcohol abuse

The tissue damage can cause a blood clot formation which can lead to a stroke.

What to expect at the pharmacy when you go to check your heart rhythm?

If you are 65 or over living in Lewisham borough, you can visit a local pharmacy to check your heart rhythm.  This is a non-invasive test, doing the test is as easy as placing your figures on your smartphone camera for 60 seconds.

The pharmacy team will explain the test, then, obtain your consent. The team will then help you to download a FibriCheck application on your phone. The pharmacy team will also show you how to use the FibriCheck app to do the test, as well as manual pulse check on your wrist.

The FibriCheck application will enable you to measure your heart rhythm at least twice a day for 7 days. This is important to ensure that the electrical activity of your heart is captured.  After this, your results will be analysed by medically certified algorithm and sent to your pharmacist. You will need to contact the pharmacist for the heart rhythm test results.

Interpretation of the results

The results are grouped into Green, amber or red.

Red–   Irregular heart rhythm detected, copy of results sent to your GP. Further investigation required by GP.

Amber – inconclusive – no immediate action is required, your GP can check your pulse on your next GP appointment.

Green – No irregularities detected, no action required.

Patients without a smart phone

If you do not have a smart phone, the pharmacist can signpost you to the nearest community hub where you can have a similar test done to check your heart rhythm.

Further resources