AF Association News & Events

WHRW 2021: Remember the Five Ws — Who, What, Where, When, any Why — when discussing symptoms with people with arrhythmias

Arrhythmia Alliance World Heart Rhythm Week 2021 — the annual event that seeks to raise awareness of heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) — is encouraging both healthcare professionals and the public to remember “The Five Ws” — Who, What, When, Where, and Why — when reviewing symptoms. “The Five Ws” have been long considered to be the core components of complete story telling, and Arrhythmia Alliance believes they are an excellent way for healthcare professionals and people to “get to the bottom” of symptoms to find the right diagnosis, therapies, and treatments. For example, if a person is experiencing blackouts, a witness to a “blackout” (WHO were you with and WHAT happened) may be able to provide more information about what happened than the person themselves. Or if a person has palpitations, asking “WHEN” (and HOW often) can help determine if the symptoms were a one off or a sign of an ongoing irregular heart rhythm (such as atrial fibrillation, which can lead to a devastating stroke).

The aim of “The Five Ws” campaign, which is running across the Arrhythmia AllianceAF Association, and STARS social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), is to raise awareness that the more that the public, patients, and healthcare professionals know, the more that they can work together to prevent an irregular heart rhythm, detect the condition, protect against potentially fatal events (such as sudden cardiac arrest), correct the irregular heart rhythm, and therefore perfect the patient care pathway to ensure the best outcomes for those with irregular heart rhythms.

Mrs Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder and CEO of Arrhythmia Alliance, says: “We have always sought to empower patients with arrhythmias to play an active role in the management of their condition, this campaign will encourage the public (who may be unaware they have an irregular heart rhythm that could prove fatal if left undetected and treated) patients and healthcare professionals to have meaningful discussions about symptoms. The more information they have, the more they can work together to find an answer.”

During WHRW2021, we will also be encouraging people to “Listen To Your Heart” by sharing infographics with important statistics about arrhythmias — such as that sudden cardiac arrests cause up to 100,000 deaths per year in the UK, about half a million people in the UK don’t know they have AF, or that many people experiencing syncope (fainting) are misdiagnosed as having epilepsy. By sharing these statistics, people gain a greater understanding of arrhythmias and how to detect them which in turn leads to better outcomes.

A key part of listening to your heart is knowing your pulse. Through its “Know Your Pulse to Know Your Heart Rhythm — it Could Save Your Life” campaign, Arrhythmia Alliance encourages everyone to get into the habit of regularly checking their pulse because an irregular pulse can be a sign of an arrhythmia — specifically, it can be a sign of atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is the most common form of an arrhythmia and is a major cause of stroke. AF-related strokes are more often fatal and disabling than strokes from other causes. A key problem with AF is that it can be asymptomatic (without symptoms), meaning sometimes people do not discover that they have AF until they have had a stroke. Therefore, the Know Your Pulse campaign raises awareness of the importance of regularly checking your pulse and provides information on how to do this. For more information, see

For more information about World Heart Rhythm Week, click here.



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