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Published Tuesday 12 Sep 2017

Visitors and staff at Hutt Valley Hospital will have an opportunity to learn about Atrial Fibrillation (AF) on Wednesday 20 September when Cardiology staff host an AF awareness campaign.

Atrial fibrillation, a particular type of irregular heartbeat, affects 2% of New Zealanders and carries a five-fold increased risk of stroke. It is the most common heart rhythm disturbance and if left untreated can be fatal.

Staff will be on hand at a stand in the main entrance, Heretaunga Block of Hutt Hospital on Wednesday 20th September 2017 11am until 4pm to offer free pulse and blood pressure checks to the public and supply information to raise awareness of the condition.

Dr Matthew Webber, Cardiologist, says many people who have AF don’t realise it until they have a stroke. A quick screening by a health professional could mean the difference between life and death.

Atrial fibrillation treatment begins with lifestyle modifications, and assessment and medication by the GP. Often it requires hospital-level care by specialist nurse and medical staff. Jennie Dean, Clinical Nurse Specialist, started the first nurse-led AF clinic at Hutt Hospital in 2006, and 11 years later this remains a unique and well recognised innovation in managing the increasing burden of AF.

This campaign is the initiative of the Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society and is supported by the Cardiac Society of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Heart Foundation. Hutt Hospital will kick-off the central region campaign on Wednesday 20th September 2017.

It is taking place alongside a National Awareness Campaign across most DHB’s to raise awareness across the nation. Dr Matthew Webber & Jennie Dean will be running this on Wednesday 20th September at Hutt Hospital (Heretaunga block main entrance) and on Thursday 21st September 2017 Wellington Hospital (main entrance atrium).