IMPACT-AFib is an initiative to explore the effect of educating patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) and their providers about the importance of anticoagulation medications for reducing the risk of stroke. The goal of this initiative is to find out whether the materials you received in the mail and on this website improve the use of oral anticoagulant medications for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation.

This FDA-sponsored initiative is being conducted by several health plans in collaboration with researchers at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Educational materials were sent to a randomly chosen selection of providers and their patients who appear to have atrial fibrillation, have a high risk of stroke, and have no record of filling a prescription for an anticoagulant in the past year.

Image shows a heart fibrillating with description when you have A Fib, blood pools in the hear and clots may form. A blood vessel showing clots leading to the brain with description stroke is caused when a blood clot forms and travels to the brain Stroke symptoms are described based on location In the head: Sudden, severe headache with no cause, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination. In the body: sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body. A sidebar shows stroke statistics Atrial fibrillation (A Fib) patients are five times more likely to have a stroke A Fib affects an estimated two point seven million Americans fifteen to twenty percent of all strokes are caused by A fib.


Providers should discuss the risks and potential benefits of anticoagulant medications with patients who have AFib.

Patients with AFib should ask their providers about taking an anticoagulant medication to reduce their risk of stroke.

Why is IMPACT-AFib Important?

IMPACT-Afib is important because it will help us understand the impact of educational materials on the decisions made by patients with AFib and their providers regarding taking an oral anticoagulant.

Oral anticoagulants are an important therapy for many patients with AFib as they decrease the rate of stroke by more than two-thirds.

Atrial fibrillation —

  • Is the most common arrhythmia that patients notice.
  • Accounts for 1/3 of heart rhythm-related hospitalizations.
  • Affects about 1% of the U.S. population, with more than 10% of people over the age of 80; over 70% of cases occur in people between the ages of 65 and 85.
  • Will increase 150% by 2050 because of the increasing average age of Americans.
  • Will lead to a higher rate of stroke because patients with AFib have a 5-7 fold greater risk of stroke as compared to the general population.
  • When patients with AFib have strokes, their outcomes are often worse than for patients who do not have AFib.