BMJ open 2018 03 148(3) e021121 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021121
Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects >6% of people aged 65 years or older. Left undetected and untreated, patients may develop significant cardiovascular complications and have a fivefold increased risk of suffering a stroke. For 40% of all sufferers, AF can be asymptomatic. Every year in the UK, £2.2 billion is spent on AF-related strokes, so there is an urgent need to improve early detection of AF. This study aims to determine the feasibility of using trained clinical pharmacists based in general practices, to screen for AF, using pulse palpation and a single-lead ECG device on participants aged 65 years or older, attending influenza vaccination clinics.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS
Seven clinical pharmacists will be trained by a cardiologist to pulse palpate and record single-lead ECGs using the AliveCor Kardia Mobile device. Quantitative analysis will assess the accuracy and ability of the clinical pharmacist to identify pulse irregularities using pulse palpation and to record and interpret a single-lead ECG. The level of agreement of pulse irregularities detected by pulse palpation will be compared with those detected by the single-lead ECG device, as will the level of agreement between the cardiologist and the device’s interpretation of the ECG. The proportion of people identified with AF (confirmed by the cardiologist) will be determined. Additional demographic data will be obtained from all participants through a questionnaire. Qualitative data will be captured from the participants, from the clinical pharmacists and from the general practitioners and practice staff to determine their views on this method of AF screening. We aim to recruit 600 participants across general practices within Kent.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION
This protocol was approved by the London-Riverside Research Ethics committee. The findings of this study will be disseminated through forums including, but not limited to, peer-reviewed journals, national and international conferences.