Susan Lucci Launches Facing AFib Pledge to Educate about Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

Susan Lucci Launches Facing AFib Pledge to Educate about Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

Ridgefield, CT– May 12, 2011 – As an actress, Susan Lucci has loved many men in her storied soap opera career, but when her real-life leading man was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, she jumped into action and pledged to learn everything she could about his condition. Now, Lucci and her husband, Helmut Huber, are raising awareness of AFib, a type of irregular heartbeat1 that may increase a person’s risk of stroke nearly five times,2 as program ambassadors for Facing AFib, Get Serious about Stroke™. By launching the Facing AFib Pledge, the couple is encouraging more than 2.3 million Americans living with AFib,3 and their loved ones, to join them in learning more about the condition, partnering with their doctors and finding out what can be done to reduce their risk of stroke.

Atrial fibrillation is a potentially serious condition where the heart does not beat the way it should, which can result in the formation of blood clots.1 These blood clots can travel from the heart to the brain, where they can lead to a stroke.1 Strokes associated with AFib can be about twice as likely to be fatal4 or severely disabling as other types of strokes.5 But, the good news is this risk can be significantly reduced.6

“Following Helmut’s diagnosis of AFib more than a decade ago, we’ve worked together, along with his doctor, to fully understand his condition and reduce his risk of stroke,” said Lucci. “We want you to join us by taking the Facing AFib Pledge and ensuring you have all the information you need to better understand your condition and to work with your doctor to reduce your AFib-related stroke risk. It’s free and easy to do!”

The Facing AFib Pledge and other useful tools can be found at By joining the pledge, AFib patients and their loved ones can commit to learning more about AFib by understanding how the condition affects their health or the health of a loved one and discussing ways to reduce AFib-related stroke with a doctor. Additionally, there’s a state-by-state Facing AFib Pledge Map that allows visitors to see where others like them have joined in taking the pledge.

“May is National Stroke Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time for people to join the Facing AFib Pledge and commit to doing all they can to reduce AFib-related stroke,” said Jim Baranski, CEO, National Stroke Association. “Millions are impacted by AFib and our goal is to arm them with the information they need and the tools that will allow them to work closely with their doctor to develop a treatment plan that will reduce their risk of stroke.”

Facing AFib is a national program to educate Americans about AFib and to encourage those with the condition to take steps to help reduce their stroke risk. The program also aims to facilitate improved communication between patients and healthcare providers. The program website,, offers helpful information and free resources, such as a stroke risk assessment tool and personalized doctor discussion guide. Visitors also can register for a free interactive book, AFib and Stroke: The Heart-Head Connection. Facing AFib is supported by founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. along with partnering organizations, National Stroke Association and

“As the founder of and someone who has been an AFib patient, I have taken the Facing AFib Pledge. It is my passion to ensure patients have access to credible information and useful tools like those available at,” said Mellanie True Hills, founder of “I encourage everyone to take the Pledge and to find out how many others just like them have made the commitment to face AFib and get serious about stroke.”

About Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common sustained heart rhythm abnormalities.3 Atrial fibrillation is associated with up to 15 percent of all strokes in the U.S.2 The prevalence of AFib is expected to increase 2.5-fold to 5.6 million by 2050, reflecting the growing population of elderly individuals.3 The risk of stroke associated with AFib increases with age.7 People with risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes are at increased risk of developing AFib.1

Facing AFib Partnering Organizations

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the founding sponsor of the Facing AFib program, has joined with two leading patient advocacy organizations to help raise public awareness of AFib and its related increased stroke risk:

National Stroke Association is the only national organization in the United States that focuses 100 percent of its efforts on stroke. The organization achieves its mission to lower the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling community outreach programs, calling for continued improvement in the quality of stroke patient care and educating both healthcare professionals and the general public about stroke. Visit or call 1-800-STROKES (1-800-787-6537) for more information. Join our Facebook page at founder, Mellanie True Hills, created the site as part of the American Foundation for Women’s Health to share what she and other atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients have learned and to provide others with information and answers to their questions. is a patient-to-patient resource to help patients control their AFib so it doesn’t rule their lives. The site reaches out to patients, families, and caregivers, who all deal with the life-changing impact of AFib. also contains an AFib Services Locator to help patients find the right resources for treating and managing their AFib. (

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 145 affiliates and more than 42,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

For Boehringer Ingelheim—and its employees—carrying a good share of social responsibility is an important component in its business culture. Both global commitments in social projects and properly caring for all its employees are included. Respect, equal opportunity, and the balance of career and family life form the basis for mutual cooperation. And, environmental protection and sustainability are always the main focus during any of Boehringer Ingelheim’s undertakings.

In 2010, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of approximately $16.7 billion (about 12.6 billion euro) while spending almost 24% of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

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Anna Moses
Public Affairs & Communications
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,
Phone: 203-798-4638
Email: [email protected]

©2010 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All rights reserved.
Facing AFib, Get Serious About Stroke is a trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


1 NHLBI website. “What is AFib?” Available at: Accessed on: May 2, 2011.

2 Fuster, V., et al. “ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation – Executive Summary: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the European Society of Cardiology Committee for Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Revise the 2001 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation): Developed in Collaboration With the European Heart Rhythm Association and the Heart Rhythm Society.” Circulation. 2006; 114:700-752.

3 Go, A.S., et al. “Prevalence of Diagnosed Atrial Fibrillation in Adults: National Implications for Rhythm Management and Stroke Prevention: the AnTicoagulation and Risk Factors in Atrial Fibrillation (ATRIA) Study.” JAMA. 2001; 285:2370-2375.

4 Lin, H., et al. “Stroke Severity in Atrial Fibrillation: The Framingham Study.” Stroke. 1996; 27:1760-1764.

5 Dulli, D.A., et al. “Atrial Fibrillation is Associated with Severe Ischemic Stroke.” Neuroepidemiology. 2003; 22:118-123.

6 Hart, R.G., et al. “Meta-analysis: Antithrombotic Therapy to Prevent Stroke in Patients Who Have Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation.” Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007; 146:857-867.

7 Frost, L., et al. “Age and Risk of Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation: Evidence for Guidelines?” Neuroepidemiology. 2007; 28:109-115.