Matter of Moments: Recognizing AFib-Stroke Risk

November 08, 2018     

Millions of Americans are estimated to live with a common type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (AFib). In fact, in 2019 approximately 8 million people in the U.S. are projected to be affected by AFib.  However, some of these people may not know they have it because the condition can have no symptoms. The prevalence of AFib is higher in people aged 65 and older – about 9% of people in this age group have the condition.  Some additional risk factors for AFib include diabetes, high blood pressure and certain heart disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease).

AFib Fast Facts

  • Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a common type of an irregular heartbeat.
  • During AFib, the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly, or too quickly, and do not pump all of the blood to the lower chambers, causing some blood to pool, and potentially form clots. If a clot breaks loose, it can travel to the brain and lead to a stroke.
  • The prevalence of AFib is higher in people aged 65 and older. About 9% of people aged 65 years or older have AFib.
  • In addition to advancing age, risk factors for AFib include having diabetes and having high blood pressure, among other conditions.
  • Some people living with AFib have no symptoms; those who do show signs may experience symptoms such as heart palpitations, chest pain and fatigue.
Matter of Moments

Why is awareness of AFib and its risk factors so important? Because those with AFib have up to a five times greater chance of stroke than those without the condition and strokes related to AFib are more likely to be severe than non-AFib-related strokes. 

The Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance established an awareness initiative in late 2018, called Matter of Moments: Recognizing AFib-Stroke Risk. Why “Matter of Moments?” Because in a matter of moments, the lives of individuals, as well as their family and friends, can be affected by AFib-related stroke. On the other hand, AFib may also be detected in a matter of moments as a part of routine medical care. 

The Alliance created the Matter of Moments initiative to help raise awareness of AFib, its connection to stroke, and the importance of a timely AFib diagnosis. We are doing this by collaborating with expert healthcare professionals and advocacy organizations so that patients and healthcare providers can be better prepared for a future where AFib may be more prevalent.

Visit to learn more about AFib and stroke risk.