National Experts Team Up to Help Americans with Atrial Fibrillation

Thursday, January 21, 2010 Heart Disease News
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BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Jan. 20 National medical and lifestyle experts have been brought together by sanofi-aventis U.S. to help aging Americans learn to live life more fully despite a serious and increasingly prevalent heart condition - atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of irregular heartbeat. The "AFib Support Team," which comprises a cardiologist, cardiovascular nurse, senior fitness expert and lifestyle gerontologist, will drive a national public awareness campaign that provides concrete guidance to help those with AFib manage their condition.

AFib worsens underlying cardiovascular disease and is associated with a five-fold increased risk for stroke, and doubles the risk of death. Hospitalization associated with AFib has increased dramatically (two-to-three fold) in recent years in the U.S. The condition takes an emotional, physical and financial toll; more than half of Americans with AFib find it disruptive to their lives.( )The Afib Support Team was created to help patients in the comprehensive management of AFib by offering practical advice and educational resources addressing the medical lifestyle and fitness challenges associated with their condition.

"The impact of atrial fibrillation goes well beyond physical health; it is a condition that affects patients' everyday life," said Support Team member and cardiologist Bradley P. Knight, M.D., Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Northwestern University. "As healthcare professionals, we understand the need to help patients address all aspects of the condition to effectively manage AFib and improve their overall well-being."

The Support Team addresses issues including:

Resources for patients with AFib developed by the AFib Support Team are available online at They include a guide to healthcare professional-patient dialogue and fact sheets to help patients understand how to live life more fully with AFib. Approximately 3.1 million Americans are diagnosed with AFib, and an estimated 13 percent of Americans over the age of 70 are living with the condition.

"Older Americans with AFib can continue to live a full and active life, but they may need to make some modifications," said Alexis Abramson, Ph.D., Lifestyle Gerontologist. "Our Support Team offers practical tips and advice for people with AFib to help them manage their disease and continue with their daily activities."

About the AFib Support Team

The Support Team will also participate in events around the country, where people with AFib can interact with Team members and local experts to learn more about managing their condition and build their own local Support Team. The AFib Support team is sponsored by sanofi-aventis U.S LLC. Healthcare professionals and experts providing information on behalf of the AFib Support Team are retained and compensated for their services by sanofi-aventis U.S.

The national AFib Support Team members are:

About Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, seen by physicians and accounts for about one-third of hospital admissions for cardiac rhythm disturbances. Because the risk of AFib increases with age, the number of people affected is expected to rise dramatically as the U.S. population gets older. It also costs the nation approximately $6.65 billion annually, much of which could be attributed to the increased hospital in-patient, emergency and medical services utilization rates for people with AFib.( )

About sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis U.S. is an affiliate of sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to help improve the lives of patients. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (Euronext: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

For more information, or


Multimedia News Release:


-- Understanding the various aspects of the disease -- Questions to ask healthcare professionals during appointments -- Preparing for travel -- Developing a fitness plan with healthcare professionals -- Managing stress, and balancing a career -- Avoiding substances that can trigger AFib episodes -- Working with a cardiovascular nurse to obtain information and support

SOURCE sanofi-aventis

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