Heart Rhythm Society Partners with Webmd® Education To Help Increase Awareness of Atrial Fibrillation

New collaboration results in launch of online tool designed to educate patients and caregivers about the risks associated with AFib

December 11, 2017

Media Contact

Cindy Rahman
BRG Communications
Ken Demith
Heart Rhythm Society

The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), in partnership with WebMD® Education, announces the launch of a free, online educational tool called “How to Reduce Your Risk of Stroke Due to AFib .” The new tool is part of a larger series of educational activities hosted by WebMD Education to help patients, caregivers and those who may be living at risk to learn more about various medical conditions. The AFib-focused tool is an easy to use, interactive activity delivering important information straight into the hands of the user. This is the first collaboration between HRS and WebMD Education.  

AFib, the most common heart arrhythmia, affects more than 33 million people worldwide and has been known to increase a person’s risk of stroke by 500 percent and even death1 2. In the United States, more than 2.5 million adults are living with AFib, and it accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances. AFib occurs when the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) fibrillate, or “quiver,” which causes a rapid, irregular heart rhythm. The normal heart rate for an adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. When the heart experiences AFib, the atria can beat over 300 times every minute.

The new online tool, which can be accessed on WebMD Education and via its sister site, Medscape, presents physician-reviewed, expert content about the signs and symptoms of AFib. Upon completing the activity, users are more aware of AFib and the risks associated with the condition. Specifically, the tool covers the following topic areas:

  • Definition and Types of AFib
  • Symptoms and Risks
  • How AFib is Diagnosed
  • Understanding and Preventing Stroke
  • Goals and Types of Treatment
  • What to Ask Your Doctor

“In a day in age where information is available at your fingertips, it is more important than ever to arm patients with accurate and helpful information about their health. With our physician-led expertise in electrophysiology and WebMD’s extensive digital footprint, this interactive tool provides patients and caregivers with information that will allow for more open and informed conversations with physicians,” says Lynda E. Rosenfeld, MD, FHRS, cardiologist at Yale Medicine and professor at Yale School of Medicine. “At HRS, we have an ongoing commitment to help educate the public about life-threatening arrhythmias, and what better partner than WebMD to share in this mission to help save lives.”

In 2015, a survey of 240 patient and caregiver respondents conducted by HRS and the National Stroke Association gathered insights about common practices related to searching for heart arrhythmia information. Survey findings demonstrated the importance of readily available tools—indicating a doctor, an internet search and internet consumer medical sites such as WebMD are top resources for learning about heart arrhythmia. Additionally, the survey revealed that 98 percent of respondents visit WebMD as their main source of health information, and more than 60 percent of respondents have used and would use WebMD again for information on heart arrhythmia.

With better education, HRS and WebMD Education hope to provide all patients with accurate, engaging and clear information needed to make the best possible treatment decisions. For more information and additional resources on AFib, please visit HRS’s website at MyAFib.org .

The new online activity available on WedMD Education is also supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb & Pfizer Alliance, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Medtronic, Inc.

1 Chugh SS, Havmoeller R, Narayanan K, Singh D, Rienstra M, Benjamin EJ, et al. Worldwide epidemiology of atrial fibrillation: a Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study. Circulation 2014;129:837–847.
2 “Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and Stroke.” www.stroke.org/sites/default/files/resources/Fact%20Sheet_Afib%20and%20Stroke.pdf .

About the Heart Rhythm Society

The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science, education, and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education, and optimal health care policies and standards. Incorporated in 1979 and based in Washington, DC, it has a membership of more than 6,000 heart rhythm professionals in more than 72 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.HRSonline.org.