Posted on 02/14/2012

Washington, D.C. - According to a new survey issued by the Heart Rhythm Society, the majority of Americans are unaware of two serious and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorders: atrial fibrillation (AF) and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). In fact, only one in three Americans has ever heard of AF or recognize the number of lives claimed each year from SCA. Throughout February, Heart Health Month, the Heart Rhythm Society spotlights the need for public education on heart rhythm disorders affecting millions of people, and the specialists best suited to treat them – electrophysiologists.

More than 250,000 deaths occur each year as a result of SCA--more than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS. Yet, according to the recent survey, more than 65 percent of Americans not only underestimate the seriousness of SCA, but also believe SCA is a type of heart attack. While this current data does show a 5 percent increase since the Society’s 2008 SCA awareness survey, the lack of awareness remains high and further education is needed. Additionally, more than 2 million people in the United States (U.S.) live with AF. Yet, survey results showed only 50 percent of Americans know AF is a type of heart rhythm disorder. 

What is an Electrophysiologist? 

There is a special type of heart doctor that treat patients with heart rhythm problems—called an electrophysiologist. Electrophysiologists are cardiologists with advanced medical training to treat problems with the heart’s electrical system, which result in heart rhythm disorders. The electrophysiologist can also help you learn if you or your family members are at risk for life-threatening rhythm disturbances, including SCA and AF. 

SOURCE: PR Web (Heart Rhythm Society)