and Leading Experts Call for Renewed Efforts to Improve Atrial Fibrillation Patient Care and leading experts from five medical societies call for renewed efforts to improve atrial fibrillation patient care during American Heart Month

  • Summary: and leading experts call for renewed efforts to improve atrial fibrillation patient care
  • Reading time: 3–5 minutes had the privilege of convening a task force with representatives from five medical societies to develop strategies to ensure access and appropriate treatment for all atrial fibrillation patients.

Contributors to the report include:

  • Ralph J. Damiano, Jr., MD
    American Association for Thoracic Surgery
  • Ijeoma Ekeruo, MD, FACC
    American College of Cardiology
  • Jose Joglar, MD
    American Heart Association
  • Camille Frazier-Mills, MD, MHS, FACC, FAHA
    Association of Black Cardiologists
    Heart Rhythm Society (Member, DEI Council)
  • Larry R. Jackson II, MD, MHSc
    Association of Black Cardiologists
  • Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS, FAHA
    Heart Rhythm Society
  • Eric N. Prystowsky, MD, FACC, FHRS, FAHA
    Heart Rhythm Society Board of Directors
  • Mellanie True Hills, CSP
  • Andrew D. Bowser
    Medical and Science Writer

We wish to thank all these contributors and the organizations they represent for supporting this project.

Here is the press release launching this Call to Action report. and Leading Experts Call for Renewed Efforts to Improve Atrial Fibrillation Patient Care During American Heart Month

Task force outlines current health disparities and strategies to advance the patient experience across the continuum of care in newly issued call-to-action report.

DALLAS, FEBRUARY 21, 2024—, joined by a task force of experts representing the nation’s leading cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery organizations, is calling for renewed efforts to address health disparities and improve care for people living with atrial fibrillation (also known as AF or afib), an irregular and sometimes rapid heartbeat that can cause life-threatening complications, including stroke and heart failure.1

The impact of AF varies substantially based on gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic conditions such as income, education, geography, and access to care. Recognizing the need for more equitable care, convened the task force to develop a new call-to-action report, Addressing Health Equity to Improve Atrial Fibrillation Patient Experiences and Outcomes. The report, published in February to align with the celebration of American Heart Month and Black History Month, identifies priority areas for intervention, offers strategies to address health equity issues, and seeks to drive change through recommended action, ranging from individual patient encounters to changes in healthcare systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 12.1 million people in the U.S. will have AF in 2030.2 Despite AF being the most common arrhythmia, many patients face significant disparities when it comes to receiving a timely diagnosis and accessing care and treatment. AF symptom burden, quality of life, and clinical outcomes are documented to be worse in women and among Black and Hispanic patients, as well as other underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. For patients with AF, timely and proper care is an essential component of long-term health.

As medical professionals, we want to provide high-quality, equitable care that meets the needs of each individual patient,” said Eric N. Prystowsky, MD, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Ascension Medical Group, St. Vincent Indianapolis Cardiology. “Managing atrial fibrillation is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and it is important to be receptive and recognize each patient’s unique situation, as well as to be flexible in our interactions with patients of all backgrounds to achieve positive health outcomes.

Leveraging best practices and recent research, the call-to-action report aims to bring attention to key steps that can be implemented to improve the patient experience, including the need to:

  • Promote awareness and encourage adoption of new clinical practice guidelines focused on addressing health inequities and barriers to AF management
  • Target healthcare providers through educational outreach to improve awareness and knowledge of AF care disparities and inequities
  • Promote racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the healthcare workforce
  • Facilitate implementation of training on implicit bias and cultural competency
  • Adopt advanced patient care strategies (e.g., AF centers of excellence) to support underserved communities
  • Support ongoing efforts to ensure clinical trials include a broad and representative range of patients by race, ethnicity, and gender
  • Support research on drivers and determinants that lead to disparities and inequities in AF management 
  • Enhance shared decision-making and patient engagement for patients with AF

Given the personal nature of atrial fibrillation, managing it appropriately requires patients and healthcare providers to collaborate when making decisions about care. Unfortunately, social determinants of health often create barriers that interfere with shared decision-making,” said Mellanie True Hills, founder of and an AF patient herself. “This call-to-action report is intended to illuminate challenges and provide solutions for clinicians and patients. The report also aims to empower patients to better understand their condition and play a more active role in their care.

To learn about treatment approaches to help manage atrial fibrillation, visit

Funding for this activity was provided by Sanofi. policies restrict funders from controlling program content.

About was founded in 2007 by an atrial fibrillation patient for afib patients. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for those living with afib and save lives by raising awareness of afib and decreasing afib-related strokes. is the top arrhythmia site worldwide. provides information about afib symptoms, causes, risks, treatments, resources, and the latest afib news.

To access carefully curated afib-related videos in the StopAfib Video Library, create a no-cost account at

To learn more about the organization and the annual Get In Rhythm. Stay In Rhythm.® Atrial Fibrillation Patient Conference, visit


Mellanie True Hills
[email protected]

See full press release at PRNewswire

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