News | Stroke | September 28, 2017

Majority of High-Risk Stroke Patients Not Being Screened for Common Risk Factors

New research identifies significant gaps between recommended guidelines and clinical practice for stroke prevention across 20 countries

Majority of High-Risk Stroke Patients Not Being Screened for Common Risk Factors

September 28, 2017 — New research revealed that on average, more than 75 percent of people aged 65 and older worldwide are not being screened for atrial fibrillation (AF) and other common stroke risk factors during routine primary care examinations, even though this population is at high risk for stroke.

The “Preventing Stroke: Uneven Progress Report,” released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a division of The Economist and sponsored by The Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance, conducted an analysis of 20 countries and found that efforts to screen people for stroke risk factors including AF and hypertension varied widely, even in countries with established healthcare and developed economies.

“Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for 6.2 million deaths,1 but is nearly 80 percent preventable,”2 said Becca Lipman, editor of the EIU’s thought leadership division and of this report. “Our hope is that this research will elevate the awareness and urgency surrounding screening for stroke risk factors including AF and hypertension and offer suggestions on what can be done on a country-by-country level to further improve prevention. There are critical and urgent opportunities to improve screening, so that fewer people suffer the devastating consequences of stroke.”

The report considered policy efforts to assess and reduce risks of stroke across different aspects including awareness, screening practices and policies. Key findings include:

  • There is a disconnect between established best practices and everyday clinical practice. For example, there are gaps in the training of healthcare professionals to properly identify and treat stroke risks;
  • Screening for AF and hypertension remains low and is not regularly performed in clinical practice; and
  • Future policies should focus on strategies to improve awareness of stroke risk factors, implement systematic and/or opportunistic screenings, and include both individual and population-based health-intervention approaches.

“People with AF are at least three times more likely to have a stroke than those without this condition,”3,4,5 said Rory O’Connor, M.D., chief medical officer, Pfizer Internal Medicine. “Even modest improvements in diagnosis and treatment of stroke risk factors including AF – supported by collaborations across healthcare providers, advocates, policymakers and the private sector – could potentially prevent many strokes and related deaths.”6

The EIU developed a scorecard to assess each country’s performance across four different categories and conducted in-depth interviews with experts on cardiovascular health and stroke, which were included in the final report.

For more information:


1. Top 10 Causes of Death. (webpage) World Health Organization. Accessed on August 10, 2017.
2. Myth vs. Fact: Stroke Facts (webpage). National Stroke Association. Accessed on August 10, 2017.
3. January, C. T. (2014). ACC/AHA/HRS Guideline for the Management of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation. Circulation, 130, E212-E212. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000041/-/DC1.
4. Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke: the Framingham study. Stroke 1991;22: 983–8.
5. Spodato LA, Cipriano LE, Saposnik G. (2015). Diagnosis of atrial fibrillation after stroke and transient ischaemic attack: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Neurol 2015; 14: 377–87.
6. Stroke Facts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (webpage) Accessed on August 10, 2017.
7. Ben Freedman, Tatjana S. Potpara, and Gregory Y H Lip, "Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation," The Lancet 388, no. 10046 (2016): , doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(16)31257-0.

Related Content

Appropriate Use Criteria Published for Valvular Heart Disease Imaging Tests
News | Clinical Decision Support| October 16, 2017
The American College of Cardiology (ACC), along with several partnering societies, recently released appropriate use...
Videos | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| October 12, 2017
Sharon Mulvagh, M.D., FRCPC, FACC, FAHA, FASE, professor, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Dalhouse Un
SunTech Medical Receives Third-Party Validation of CT40 BP Spot-Check Device
News | Blood Pressure Monitor| October 11, 2017
October 11, 2017 — The CT40 spot-check device from SunTech Medical has received third-party validation for...
New Evaluation Sends Low-Risk ER Chest Pain Patients Home Sooner
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| October 10, 2017
A new evaluation to determine whether emergency room patients with chest pain can go home and follow up with their...
NIAID Scientists Illuminate Mechanism of Increased Cardiovascular Risks With HIV
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| September 14, 2017
September 14, 2017 — Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have expanded the understanding of how chronic i
Marijuana Associated With Three-Fold Risk of Death From Hypertension
News | Hypertension| September 14, 2017
Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to research published recently...
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| September 12, 2017
Contracting shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack,...
Vascular screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and hypertension during the VIVA Study in Denmark

Vascular screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and hypertension during the VIVA Study. Photo credit: Lisbeth Hasager Justesen, Viborg Hospital.

News | Cardiac Diagnostics| September 12, 2017
September 12, 2017 — A new screening program for vascular disease saves one life for every 169 men assessed, accordin
PURE study may cause revision of fat intake guidelines for cardiology.
Feature | ESC| September 07, 2017
September 7, 2017 — Researchers at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress called for a reconsideration of
Florida Medical Center First in State to Offer High Sensitive STAT Blood Test
News | Blood Testing| September 07, 2017
In July, The Heart Institute at Florida Medical Center became the first hospital in the state of Florida to offer the U...
Overlay Init