Pfizer Launches AF Journey Website To Improve Atrial Fibrillation Health Literacy

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 – Pfizer Malaysia yesterday officially launched a new Atrial Fibrillation (AF) awareness website in conjunction with World Heart Day and World Stroke Day 2022, together with the National Heart Association of Malaysia (NHAM) and Malaysia Stroke Council (MSC).

Focused on AF and its connection to strokes, the website features Holographic Augmented Reality Videogram (HARV) for an immersive experience which helps a person better visualise what is happening inside their bodies with AF.

AF is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmias associated with increased morbidity and mortality, as the deterioration of atrial mechanical function causes irregular and abnormally fast heart rates.

Based on a 2016 study, the prevalence of AF in the Malaysian population is 0.54 per cent, compared to the global average of 1 per cent. It was also reported that AF’s prevalence was at 1.5 per cent among 32.6 million people in Asia aged 40 and above2.

“With prevention in mind, we want the website to share AF’s impact and the importance of early diagnosis in an accessible and understandable way. The website serves two purposes, educating patients and caregivers directly or as a useful tool for cardiologists, neurologists, and other HCPs to leverage when educating their patients,” said Luksanawan Thangpaibool, country manager and cluster lead, Pfizer Malaysia, Brunei and Pakistan.

“We are proud to be working together with the National Heart Association of Malaysia and the Malaysia Stroke Council today to expand access to information on AF, stroke, and other heart-related diseases,” she added.

“Patient health literacy is a contributing factor to catching the symptoms early on. Let’s not forget that AF also takes a significant toll — physically, emotionally, and financially — not just on the patient, but also on family, friends, and caregivers. At NHAM, we want patients to understand AF, its signs and symptoms, and the importance of early detection,” said Dr Ma Soot Keng, NHAM council member.

“Studies have shown that AF increases any patient’s risk of stroke and is also associated with older age (40 to above), male sex, hypertension, and ischaemic heart disease. AF imposes substantial morbidity burdens and poor health-related quality of life and significantly increases sufferers’ risk of cardiovascular events, particularly stroke,” said Prof Dr Hoo Fan Kee, MSC president.

“We see the importance of driving awareness as AF can lead to a stroke, and the Global Burden of Disease Stroke Statistics Worldwide survey in 2016 estimated that one in four Malaysians will suffer a stroke by 2040 if no preventive action is taken to change their lifestyle,” he added.

The positive outcome of driving awareness through the website and H.A.R.V is to ensure further AF patients are easily identified and can seek early health to avoid stroke, heart failure and other heart-related diseases.

The cost burden from non-communicable diseases can also be reduced and managed in the coming years.

“We believe that everyone deserves to live a healthy life. As AF has strong associations with cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, heart failure and hypertension, it will inevitably generate a substantial burden on the future cost of healthcare. We hope that the website and interactive videos with HARV will enable a better understanding of AF and drive early detection by healthcare practitioners,” Luksanawan added.

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