Extra heart check for over-65s

Extra heart check for over-65s ‘advisable’

The check could be achieved while doctors are monitoring blood pressure

A new blood pressure measuring device that may also detect a deadly heart condition was backed by the NHS watchdog.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says GPs could use it routinely to identify more patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

AF is an erratic and frequently fast heartbeat affecting 800,000 people inside the UK and is a tremendous explanation for stroke.

The device NICE is recommending in England is named WatchBP Home A.

It seems like a regular blood pressure monitor, with an inflatable cuff that goes round the patient’s arm.

At an identical time as measuring blood pressure, it could possibly check a patient’s pulse.

Hidden cases

NICE says GPs should think about using it for anyone who they think has hypertension or anyone who’s having a check for prime blood pressure.

In this manner, more cases of undiagnosed AF might be picked up and treated, which might ultimately save lives.

People with suspected AF, either due to their test result or symptoms desire to dizziness, shortness of breath and palpitations, may still be sent for a heart trace called an ECG to make sure the diagnosis.

If people over 65 were to be checked with the WatchBP Home a tool, it can save the NHS about £26m and benefit about 400,000 people, says NICE.

Prof Carole Longson from NICE said: “The guidance is just not about screening for atrial fibrillation, but concerning the benefits that the device offers in helping to pick out up atrial fibrillation unintentionally in individuals with suspected hypertension or those being screened for prime blood pressure, in primary care.”

The British Heart Foundation said: “Atrial fibrillation is a potentially dangerous condition that has effects on roughly one in 100 people within the UK and may increase four-fold the danger of a stroke.

“With appropriate treatment that risk may be substantially reduced so early diagnosis is important.”

AF may be treated with medicines to thin the blood and control the abnormal heartbeat.