Despite an increase in the number of non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients compared to five years ago nearly all European cardiologists think there is a delay in patients reaching diagnosis.

That is the claim contained in the European analysis of a global cardiology survey sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo, maker of the anticoagulant edoxaban, in partnership with the Heart Rhythm Society. It states that 97% of European cardiologists polled believe that NVAF patients experience a delay in diagnosis, which is associated with a higher risk of stroke.
The primary reason identified for the potential delay was that patients do not seek treatment because they are asymptomatic (cited by 83% of cardiologists in Europe). Low patient and physician awareness of NVAF and confusion about the different types (paroxysmal, persistent, long-standing persistent and permanent) and how they can be diagnosed, were also attributed to the delay.
For the cardiologists polled, the most important factors when choosing a treatment for stroke prevention were risk of bleeding (95%), compliance (90%), relevant co-morbid conditions (85%) and patient preferences (52%). Significantly, 68% noted that a high bleeding risk is a reason why some patients do not receive any oral anticoagulation therapy for stroke prevention.
John Camm of St Georges University of London said it is important to note that “while cardiologists are recognising the individual nature of patients and delivering bespoke treatment plans according to their needs, it is taking too long for patients to reach this diagnosis”. This means they are being put at an increased risk of other complications such as stroke, “with potentially fatal implications”.
The survey was conducted by Harris Poll among 1,100 licensed cardiologists globally and in Europe as follows: UK (n=157), Germany (156), France (159) and Spain (154).