Global Atrial Fibrillation Research: A Collaboration Project of Jaffna U

A collaborative research project on Atrial Fibrillation by University of Jaffna, with University of Birmingham and University of Liverpool, UK

Cardiovascular risk factors are increasing morbidity and mortality. In Sri Lanka, 40% of all deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases.  Diabetes is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with about 10 % of cardiovascular deaths caused by higher than optimal blood glucose levels. Thus, a plan to generate local evidence to manage the disease systematically was developed.

A research team consists of academics from the University of Jaffna, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham and University of Liverpool in UK, are trying to develop research studies related to cardiovascular health and diabetes. As an initial step, this study group is focused on Atrial Fibrillation (AF). National institute of health research is funded 80 million for this project and also created more funding opportunities.

AF is an irregular heart rhythm disorder (cardiac arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Prevalence is increasing with age. As the proportion of elderly population is increasing, it is important to know the prevalence of this disease condition in our community. Although AF is the most common serious cardiac rhythm disorder, it is not well-recognized in Sri Lanka and other low -middle income countries.  Very little is known about its epidemiology and a recently developed national registry for stroke suggests that a significant proportion of stoke may be attributed to AF in Sri Lanka

This study aims to estimate the prevalence of AF and could be the first step to calculate the AF disease related burden in Sri Lanka through a community survey in 10000 populations in Northern Province, evaluate the existing AF management.  Also, we are looking for the applications of the latest technology available in the world. We are also evaluating risk factors and how the patients are accessing appropriate care and importantly, the quality of care provided for them.

As the first phase of data collection, we have successfully completed the data collection among 9253 participants in the community survey at all 5 districts in Northern Province Sri Lanka amid COVID pandemic. Currently, we are planning to perform physical measurements and bio sample collection. In addition to this, a free Helpline for the research participants of the community survey is organized by the Department of Community & Family Medicine assisted by Nat Intensive Care Surveillance-Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit (NICS-MORU). It aims to provide information to the research participants about the available services which can improve their health and to continuously support the research participants on improving their quality of life.

This initiative is the first step to build up a center at the University of Jaffna to develop evidence based measures by carrying out long-term studies that are culturally acceptable, affordable interventions. Thus we are seeking support of all the stakeholders and research participants to make this study effective and useful for the community.

For further details:

Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran

Country lead

Global NIHR AF Project

Website: http://project.jfn.ac.lk/global-af-reach/

Facebook: Global AF Reach Sri Lanka

Twitter: @atrialFib_LK

Contact number- 0212218178

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