KANSAS CITY, Kan., Sept. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The "World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day" was commemorated on September 14 th across the globe. Several cities organized Atrial Fibrillation related awareness events. AF Awareness Yoga sessions, Run/Walk programs took place in Kansas City, Tulsa, Scottsdale, Rio de Janeiro, Hyderabad and Taipei with a focus on patient education, promoting research and access to better care. Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Foundation has worked closely with several professional organizations, physicians and hospitals to bring AF education to the forefront through World AF Awareness Day. It strives to create increased awareness amongst the general public about the most common heart rhythm condition that affects more than 20 million people in the world and is a major cause of stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.
Leawood's Mayor Mrs. Peggy Dunn graced the occasion and commented on the importance of early recognition and treatment and effective strategies for prevention of AF. She said – "It's time for the world to come together and fight AF." She recognized leaders in the field whose efforts helped advance therapies, awareness and research in the AF arena through Ambassador Awards sponsored by the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Foundation. Dr. James Cox received the GAFA Physician Ambassador of the Year Award, for his outstanding contributions to the field of for his pioneering technique (Cox-Maze Procedure) that subsequently paved the way for several innovative percutaneous and minimally invasive treatment strategies. Mrs. Mellanie True Hills, Founder of the Stopafib.org who helped raise patient awareness received the GAFA Patient Ambassador of the Year. The University of Kansas Hospital who continues to be an exceptional resource with it cutting edge technology and world class care was awarded the GAFA Hospital Ambassador of the Year. Four Commercial organizations who have shown leadership in AF innovations – St. Jude Medical, Biosense Webster, Medtronic & Boston Scientific received GAFA Industry Ambassadors of the Year Award. The events in KC included a short Yoga session with breathing and relaxation and asanas followed by a 5K Run/Walk. Several hundred participants including young children, patients, physicians and pets participated in the walk.
In his statement, Dr. Dhanunjaya (DJ) Lakkireddy, Founder of GAFA stressed the urgent need for AF education on the global front: "If AF awareness and education stands at a very nascent stage in the developed countries what can you say about developing countries? In a lot of unfortunate patients the first thing they know about AF is when they have a stroke. We need a comprehensive strategy worldwide to address this problem."
Specifically talking about the AF issues in the developing world he commented, "We can start with creating awareness about rheumatic fever, early and easily accessible care (antibiotics) for the same and proper follow up in cases with known rheumatic heart disease. AF prevention is still poorly understood and this is the next frontier we need to conquer."