September 27, 2011 — AF Stat released updates to the AFib Educator, a free smartphone app and desktop widget designed to help healthcare providers better explain atrial fibrillation (AFib) to their patients.
AFib is the most common form of irregular heartbeat, affecting an estimated 2.5 million Americans. This figure could increase to 12 million by 2050. A complex and poorly understood disease, AFib is associated with reduced quality of life; it also worsens other heart diseases and increases risk for stroke, hospitalization and death.
The AFib Educator 2.0 visually demonstrates the importance of management strategies defined in the American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Cardiology (ACC) and Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) AFib clinical treatment guidelines; these strategies include rate control, rhythm control, and stroke prevention.
"The first-generation AFib Educator has proven to be a very effective tool for helping explain to patients what happens to the heart during AFib," said Eric Prystowsky, M.D., director of the clinical electrophysiology laboratory at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital and AF Stat's medical chair. "The updated app helps physicians extend that discussion to illustrate how the heart may respond to different management strategies, and the risks patients may face from not comprehensively managing the disease."
New animations show patients important potential consequences of AFib, including stroke risk and heart remodeling. One animation shows how a blood clot can form and flow to the brain, causing an AFib-related stroke; another illustrates heart remodeling, in which the heart changes size and shape as a result of being in AFib over time.
"Atrial remodeling during persistent AFib is not a well-appreciated consequence of AFib," said Prystowsky. "Many patients do not realize that the structural changes in their atria may prevent restoration of sinus rhythm, and the loss of atrial contribution to cardiac output may result in substantial adverse symptoms to the patient. Physicians need sophisticated tools to demonstrate the complexity of potential risks of AFib and the need for a comprehensive management strategy. The AFib Educator 2.0 is designed to help meet that need."
The upgrade also includes popular features from the original application, including important patient resources about the signs, symptoms and prevalence of AFib; links to resources where patients can learn more about the disease; and an "e-mail a friend" feature, which allows healthcare professionals to e-mail background information directly to patients.
Since the original version was released in 2010, the AFib Educator has been downloaded more than 13,000 times, and continues to receive positive reviews.
The app and desktop widget are available for free download at AF Stat’s website. The app can also be downloaded from the Apple App Store online.
For more information: www.afstat.com