What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of irregular heartbeat. It occurs when your heart is not pumping as well as it should, resulting from a disturbance in the electrical conduction pathways in the heart.  A condition more common with advancing age, if left untreated can lead to serious complications such as heart failure and stroke.

Being the most common sustained heart rhythm disturbance (arrhythmia)1 and affecting 1 in 4 middle-aged adults at some point in their life2, people with AF are three to five times more likely to suffer a devastating, debilitating, disabling and often fatal stroke than people without AF.

Resulting from a disturbance in the electrical conduction pathways in the heart leading to an irregular pulse which can often be quite rapid, AF often contributes to symptoms of palpitations, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, light headedness, fainting and fatigue.

The Scale of the Problem

AF-related strokes cause unacceptably high levels of death and disability, and the scale of the problem across Europe is increasing as our populations age.

By 2035 the number of strokes is projected to rise by 34%, to over 800,000 events.3  At the same time, the number of people with AF is increasing and, by 2060, it is estimated that nearly 18 million adults over the age of 55 will have AF.4

Screening for Atrial Fibrillation

No country has yet established a national screening programme (NSP) for AF, including the UK.  However, there is an increasing body of evidence suggesting screening may be beneficial, prompting recommendations from prominent expert bodies to screen for AF.5  The British Cardiovascular Society issued a statement suggesting that it would be in the public interest to initial such a screening programme.6

Several factors have led to an increased interest in AF screening.8

The prevalence of AF is increasing due to a combination of population ageing, changing patterns of risk factors, and improved survival rates in other, contributory forms of cardiovascular disease.

Newer treatments are available in the form of novel oral anticoagulants (NOACS), which are safer, at least as effective as the existing treatment mainstay of vitamin K antagonists, and simpler to use (as they do not require regular blood tests).

A number of relatively inexpensive screening devices for detecting AF in the community have been developed and the field may evolve rapidly as new technologies and algorithms emerge.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitors

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitors (ABPMs) provide testing to determine the presence of hypertension by taking measurements during normal daily activities, over a span of 24 (or more) hours. They help to diagnose as well as monitor high blood pressure (hypertension), usually defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or more and a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or more.

ABPMs are portable blood pressure devices worn on a belt, with the cuff being attached around the upper arm. All types of daily activities, including sleep, may be normally carried out while wearing this device.

Benefits of ABPM

By giving an accurate picture of a patient’s blood pressure throughout the day and during sleep, it can prevent unnecessary prescribing of hypertension-reducing drugs for white coat hypertension. It also helps patients with masked hypertension to receive required treatment. It reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease, and organ damage caused by hypertension, and also shows how well a person responds to a long-acting antihypertensive drug.


  1. Camm AJ, Kirchhof P, Lip GY, et al. 2010. Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation: the Task Force for the Management of Atrial Fibrillation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Eur Heart J 31(19): 2369-429
  2. Kirchhof P, Benussi S, Kotecha D, et al. 2016. 2016 ESC Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation developed in collaboration with EACTS. Europace 18(11): 1609-78
  3. Stroke Alliance for Europe. 2017. The burden of stroke in Europe. London: Stroke Alliance for Europe
  4. Krijthe BP, Kunst A, Benjamin EJ, et al. 2013. Projections on the number of individuals with atrial fibrillation in the European Union, from 2000 to 2060. Eur Heart J 34(35): 2746-51
  5. Kirchhof P, Benussi S,Kotecha D,et al. (2016) 2016 ESC guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation developed in collaboration with EACTS. Eur Heart J 37(38):28932962
  6. British Cardiovascular Society (2014) BCS statement on screening for atrial fibrillation to prevent stroke (BCS), http://www.bcs.com/pages/news_full.asp?NewsID=19792297 (accessed 22 May 2017).

Taking the Pulse at Medica 2018!

A&D had a fantastic Medica 2018. It was great to catch up with so many familiar faces and meet some new ones too. We showcased several new products and technologies:

AFib Plus Range of Blood Pressure Monitors
All new ABPM with AFib+™, PatientView360™ and SmartCheck™
UltraConnect™ Connected Blood Pressure Monitors

If you missed us at the show, here are some of the highlights.

A&D TM-2441

The lightest and smallest Ambulatory Monitor …

… with AFib+ Screening Technology!

Determination of Minimum Weight, at a Touch of a Button?

Is it possible to determine minimum weight of your balance at the touch of a button?

Steve Vaughan says, “Yes!”  If you missed Steve at Lab Innovations earlier this month, then this is the perfect opportunity to catch up!

A&D, in conjunction with Select Science, invite you to tune into a webinar exploring new patented technology, Electronically Controlled Load™ (ECL), enabling precision assessment of a balance and determination of weight at the simple touch of a button, making weighing easier and more accurate to calibrate your balances.

Whether you are a user in the field of life sciences, quality control, pharmaceuticals, academic or  regulated laboratories, the material contained in this webinar would be invaluable.  All webinar participants can download a certificate of attendance with a learning outcomes summary document for continuing education purposes.

If you’re interested but have a scheduling conflict, register and receive an on-demand link to watch later, at your convenience.

Launching AFib+ Screening Technology at MEDICA 2018 Düsseldorf, Germany!


Attracting more than 5,100 exhibitors from 70 countries in 17 halls and tens of thousands of national and international experts and decision-makers from the sector, Medica 2018 presents an extensive exhibition and an ambitious program — which together present the entire spectrum of innovations for outpatient and clinical care.

The A&D Medical Team are excited to launch a range of new products at the show.  Come visit us at Hall 11 Stand D78.

A&D Creating Waves at Lab Innovations 2018

Underwater Balances at Lab Innovations!

A&D created some waves at this year’s Lab Innovations event at the NEC, Birmingham with the tried and tested world’s first IP65 rated waterproof and dust proof 1mg precision balance!

Showcasing a wide range, interest ramped up with visitors bouncing balls on the shock proof Apollo Multi-Functional balances and watching the FX-iWP Precision Balance in a fish tank!

The World First IP65 Rated 1mg Waterproof Precision Balance!

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The FX-i and FZ-i Precision top pan balances provide a host of features in a compact, light weight package. The WP models add the additional feature of being IP65 Dust & Waterproof making them ideal for hostile environments.

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Determination of Minimum Weight, at a Touch of a Button?  Apollo Multi-Functional Precision Balance

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Our very own Steve Vaughan spoke to a captivated audience on A&D’s Electronically Controlled Load™ (ECL) technology.

Demonstrating QuickMin-S, displaying an alert until the sample quantity reaches the value entered as the minimum weight, overcomes challenges with handling small masses.

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