Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac/heart disease that increases a person’s risk of death, making early identification significant in overall disease management. Throughout my time in pharmacy school, I [Brian] have developed an interest in cardiology and research. During my last year of pharmacy school, I spent eight weeks at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, in London, England, one of the largest cardiac centers within Europe, on an experiential training experience. While there, I had the opportunity to study specifics about many cardiac illnesses, with a focus on atrial fibrillation, and provide education to patients living with this disease. In addition to working with patients and expanding my knowledge, I participated in an exciting research project that allowed me to connect with the general population and share my knowledge about arrhythmias, which is something I’d like to continue to do after graduation. Our research project aimed to identify the role pharmacists could play in early detection of arrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation, and increase the population’s awareness and understanding of this illness. For our project, a pharmacist or student pharmacist was partnered with nursing staff to provide opportunities for heart rate and rhythm monitoring as well as individualized education to help ensure interested patients were more aware of the risks, signs, and symptoms of atrial fibrillation going forward. When patients met with the team, they had their heart rhythms assessed using the AliveCor Kardia ™ single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) system. This new technology allows patients to place their fingers on a small strip that is able to accurately assess a person’s heart rate and rhythm to identify any irregularities/arrhythmias. Participants were also provided education about atrial fibrillation in hopes of preventing significant morbidity and mortality, raising awareness about this particular disease and connecting patients with care. Part of this education included us showing the patients how to manually take an accurate pulse reading, and how to differentiate between a normal and irregular rate and rhythm. By teaching the patients these skills, they now know what to look for, how to monitor their own pulse, and when to seek help in the event they, or someone they know, experience symptoms of atrial fibrillation.
Hazelrigg, Brian C.; Miller, Monica L.; Antoniou, Sotiris; Chahal, Jagjot; and Fhadil, Sadeer
"The Role of the Pharmacy Team in Atrial Fibrillation Detection in Nonclinical Settings,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 6
, Article 15.
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol6/iss1/15