Biosense Webster launches a two-pronged initiative to tackle the new millennium epidemic of Atrial Fibrillation

Posted on November 20, 2019 by Medtech[y] Staff


  • A new Atrial Fibrillation Management Report highlights that catheter ablation is almost 10 times more effective at delaying Atrial Fibrillation progression than drug therapy, yet just 4% of eligible patients are receiving ablation therapy
  • Get Smart About AFIB (GSAAF) is a new public health campaign launched to tackle the growing epidemic of Atrial Fibrillation by driving better understanding of it within the healthcare community and the general public

Biosense Webster EMEA, a Division of Johnson & Johnson Medical NV/SA and leader in the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) has today reaffirmed its commitment to tackling this new millennium epidemic by launching two major initiatives to coincide with Global AF Aware Week, 18-24 November 2019.

Get Smart About AFIB (GSAAF) is a campaign where Arrhythmia Alliance and Biosense Webster have partnered to improve knowledge of AF across the healthcare community and the general public. Alongside this campaign, the Atrial Fibrillation Management Report examines the available treatment options for AF across Europe and their long-term impact on clinical, patient and economic outcomes, aiming to support healthcare professionals (HCPs) when making treatment decisions.

The Atrial Fibrillation Management Report reviewed independent studies to explore current treatment options for AF patients, which include antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) and catheter ablation. Key findings highlighted that just half of patients (52%) are well-managed by AADs,1 yet despite this, just 4% of eligible patients receive catheter ablation2 – a treatment that’s almost 10 times more effective in delaying disease progression than AADs, as demonstrated by the ATTEST trial.3 Furthermore, the report found catheter ablation to be a highly effective and economical treatment option, with data showing:

  • Greater improvement on patients’ quality of life (37% vs. 18% for AADs)4, 5
  • Sustained results with 94% patients free from arrhythmia recurrence after one year and 48% free from arrhythmia after four years6-16
  • Up to 46% lower incidence of death, stroke, cardiac arrest and cardiovascular hospitalization over seven years, compared to AADs16, 17
  • Reduced need of unplanned medical visits (by up to 80%) and long-term cost savings of 35%18, 19

AF is a growing health epidemic and places a critical financial burden on healthcare systems, costing up to €3,286 million annually in some European countries.20 By 2030, the number of people with AF is projected to increase by up to 70%34 and by 2050 Europe will have the greatest increase in AF patients compared to other regions globally, owing to factors such as economic growth, an ageing population and increased prevalence of risk factors for AF in Western countries. 21, 22 In addition, AF is sometimes known as a silent killer because up to 30% of patients do not experience any symptoms. 23,24,25

Arrhythmia Alliance and Biosense Webster have come together with a strong commitment to helping patients receive diagnosis and treatment more quickly and effectively through education, with an aim to reduce the burden of AF. Get Smart About AFIB provides easy-to-access information to help educate the general public about the condition, its common symptoms and the importance of treatment. From here, patients can ask their doctor to advise on management and treatment options available for AF. Educational materials have also been created for cardiologists, general practitioners and the wider healthcare community to support their work in diagnosing and treating AF.

“Patients with AF have a lower quality of life than the general public. AF can lead to AF-related stroke, heart failure, dementia and the condition can have a costly impact on healthcare systems,” said Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder & Trustee of Arrhythmia Alliance. “It is, therefore, crucial that we do everything we can to raise awareness of AF to prevent it from becoming a life-threatening epidemic. By providing healthcare professionals and patients with easy to use information and tools, we can help make a positive difference to people’s lives and reduce the risk of life-threatening conditions.”

To help combat the rising AF epidemic, GSAAF is encouraging the general public to take action by following three simple steps:

  1. Know the symptoms of AF and the risk factors associated with the condition by visiting https://getsmartaboutAFIB.eu
  2. Carry out pulse checks regularly (either manually or via available technologies such as smartphone apps)
  3. Seek medical advice in case of any irregularities in your heart rhythm and be informed about the different management and treatment options

Alenka Brzulja, Vice President of Cardiovascular & Specialty Solutions EMEA, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, comments: “This new millennium epidemic puts a burden on patients, caregivers and healthcare systems. At Biosense Webster, we are passionate about helping patients get access to early detection, diagnosis and the right treatments for AF, and have been for over 20 years. By developing innovative technology solutions, investing in research and publications to advance clinical understanding, and improving education and awareness of AF among clinicians and the general public, we will continue to drive our mission to cure AF”.

All assets including Get Smart About AFIB campaign materials, and the full Atrial Fibrillation Management report and supporting materials, including an infographic, are available at:

GSAAF Website

2019 AF Management Report and 2018 Burden of Disease Report and Supporting Materials