According to the results of the survey, more than 9 out of 10 respondents said they did not know or heard of ‘atrial fibrillation’, which is an arrhythmia disease. In addition, the rate of visits to hospitals when experiencing a typical symptom of arrhythmia was 15.4%, indicating that the recognition of the risk of the disease and the treatment method were very low.
Atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, is a disease of the heart beating minutely and irregularly fast. In patients with atrial fibrillation, the risk of stroke is about five times higher than in healthy people, so the proper treatment through early diagnosis is important.
According to the survey, the total percentage of the answers of “I haven’t heard of atrial fibrillation (54.7%)” and “I have heard of, but do not know well (38.1%)” is about 92.8%. Even in the case of having experienced an arrhythmia, only one out of four respondents answered that they knew about atrial fibrillation, so it is found that the disease awareness was very low. In addition, the rate of awareness of the correlation between atrial fibrillation and stroke was only 19.3%, indicating a lack of awareness of disease risk.
Arrhythmia-related general medical knowledge showed similar results. Although 38.1% knew the risk of sudden death due to arrhythmia, which is relatively high recognition, but only 23.1% knew that an ECG was necessary for the diagnosis of arrhythmia. In particular, only 7.4% of patients knew about the possibility of full recovery through 'high frequency ventricular tachycardia'. This result suggests the necessity of education about diagnosis and treatment methods.
Symptoms of arrhythmia can range from asymptomatic to syncope or sudden cardiac death, but heart palpitations are most common. According to the survey, 28.5% of the respondents experienced heart palpitations that felt heart rhythm faster or more irregular than usual within the past one year, and 58.2% experienced heart palpitations when they were diagnosed with arrhythmia. However, only 15.4% of the respondents visited the hospital when the symptoms are observed, so it confirms that the rapid diagnosis and treatment were not actively performed.
Most of them did not visit the hospital because ‘the symptoms are not considered to be severe (60.2%)’ or ‘they did not think it as a disease (51.5%)’. Therefore, it is found that people lack awareness of arrhythmia disease and the need for treatment.
As a result of analyzing the experience of other diseases to all respondents, the patients diagnosed with arrhythmias had a higher experience of diagnosing other diseases than the healthy people. Especially, the diagnostic rate of hypertension (49.1%), anxiety disorder (32.7%) and heart failure (23.6%) was higher in the arrhythmia diagnosis patients. Likewise, it is found that there is a need for attention to the co-expression of arrhythmias in the relevant disease group.
President Kim Young-hoon of Korean Heart Rhythm Society emphasized by saying, “Although the incidence of arrhythmia has rapidly increased as rapidly entered the aging society, the awareness of disease and disease risk is still low. In addition, major arrhythmia diseases, such as atrial fibrillation, are often asymptomatic. Considering that this is common in older patients aged 65 years or older, it is imperative to support screening tests using electrocardiogram (ECG) in the process of health check-up.
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