UHNM Launches “Dr. Beat” Scheme

Visitors to Royal Stoke University Hospital over the age of 65 will soon be offered the chance to check their pulse for atrial fibrillation in a matter of minutes.

This is thanks to a new scheme piloted by UHNM staff starting in early November 2018. The scheme will run for three months for two hours each Monday morning from 09:30. Through the scheme, hospital volunteers who currently help patients to log in for their outpatient appointments in the UHNM Main Building will help to highlight the pulse checking station next to the Lloyds pharmacy in the Atrium.

The pulse checking station will be manned by Cardiac Arrhythmia and Atrial Fibrillation Nurse Kevin McGibbon. Kevin will offer pulse checks via an AliveCor device. Depending upon results of the test, the process of the treatment for any irregularity can begin immediately.

Kevin said: "The importance of checking for atrial fibrillation cannot be understated, and that's why we're offering a massively simplified method for over-65s to get their pulses checked. With our new scheme patients will be able to get themselves checked in no time at all, which will hopefully encourage as many people as possible to take part."

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm problem in the world and gets increasingly common with age. It affects around 10% of over 65s, 15% of over 75s and 25% of over 85s. The condition causes the heart to have an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, and can cause problems including dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness.

The main concern with atrial fibrillation is that the top of the heart may no longer be pumping effectively. As such, this can increase the chance of blood clots and cause strokes. Around 30% of acute hospital admissions with stroke are attributable to atrial fibrillation.​