Media Advisory - June is Seniors' Month and Stroke Month - What has an impact on both? - Atrial Fibrillation

    - Atrial Fibrillation now ranks among the top cardiovascular epidemics of
    the 21st century -

    VANCOUVER, June 23 /CNW/ - Atrial fibrillation (AF), generally referred
to as an irregular heartbeat, is a common condition that remains relatively
unknown. It is most prevalent in seniors and is believed to cause 15 to
20 per cent of all strokes. In the last 20 years, hospital admissions for AF
have increased by 66 per cent, largely due to the aging population and a
rising prevalence of chronic heart disease.(1)

    WHAT:       AF awareness during Seniors' Month and Stroke Month - the
                condition, the unmet medical need and promising treatment

    WHO:        Dr. Charles Kerr, a Vancouver cardiologist and leading AF
                expert. Professor, Division of Cardiology, Department of
                Medicine, University of British Columbia; Director Arrhythmia
                Management Program, St. Paul's Hospital

    WHEN:       Monday, June 23, 2008 and Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    OVERVIEW:   AF affects approximately 250,000 Canadians and is the most
                common type of cardiac arrhythmia. It is an established risk
                factor for stroke and premature death.(2) There is an unmet
                need in treatment options for AF.

                A new treatment under investigation may represent a major
                therapeutic advance in the treatment of AF. Results of a
                major study called "ATHENA" showed that dronedarone (Multaq)
                was not only safe and effective but reduced cardiovascular
                hospitalizations and death in patients with AF. No other
                study with any other drug had succeeded in showing such

                The international ATHENA study, led by Canadian Principal
                Investigator, Dr. Stuart Connolly from Hamilton (McMaster),
                was conducted in 35 countries, with 27 sites in Canada.

                ATHENA study shows:
                -  A statistically significant 24 per cent reduction in
                   cardiovascular hospitalization or death from any cause in
                   patients with AF;
                -  A 30 per cent decrease in the risk of cardiovascular death
                   in patients with AF or atrial flutter; and
                -  A 45 per cent decrease in the risk for arrhythmic death.

    (1) Friberg J, Buch P, Scharling H, et al. Rising rates of hospital
    admissions for atrial fibrillation. Epidemiology 2003;14:666-72.
    (2) ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with
    atrial fibrillation. European Heart Journal (2006) 27, 1979-2030

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview with Dr. Kerr,
please contact: Mary-Anne Cedrone, Manning Selvage & Lee, Tel: (416) 847-1342,

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