Identification of patients with atrial fibrillation in UK community pharmacy: an evaluation of a new service

Michael Twigg, Tracey Thornley, Neil Scobie

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Background: Many patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are asymptomatic and diagnosed via opportunistic screening. Community pharmacy has been advocated as a potential resource for opportunistic screening and lifestyle interventions. 
Objective: The objective of this evaluation is to describe the outcomes from an AF service, in terms of referrals and interventions provided to patients identified as not at risk. 
Method: Eligibility was assessed from pharmacy records and the completion of a short questionnaire. Once consented, patients were screened for AF and their blood pressure was measured. 
Results: Of 594 patients screened, nine were identified as at risk of having AF and were referred to their GP. The service also identified 109 patients with undiagnosed hypertension, 176 patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) > 30, 131 with an Audit-C score > 5 and 59 smokers. Pharmacists provided 413 interventions in 326 patients aimed at weight reduction (239), alcohol consumption (123) and smoking cessation (51). 
Conclusion: This evaluation characterises the interventions provided to, not only those identified with the target condition - in this case AF - but also those without it. The true outcome of these additional interventions, along with appropriate follow-up, should be the focus of future studies.Impact of findings on patients or practice •Patients are willing to be screened for AF through community pharmacies•Screening can provide opportunities to identify other healthcare problems such a hypertension or poor lifestyle •Community pharmacists are able to provide brief advice to patients as a result of this opportunistic screening
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-787
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Community pharmacy
  • Pharmacy services
  • Risk assessment
  • United Kingdom

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