Atrial fibrillation is a common cardiac rhythm anomaly which causes blood to build up in the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). The fact that blood is no longer being pumped around the body normally encourages the formation of clots, which, if they enter the bloodstream, can reach the brain and cause a stroke. It is estimated that more than 6 million people in Europe are currently affected by this condition, and a further increase is expected, given the connection between the prevalence of the disease and an ageing population. This form of cardiac arrhythmia causes 15–20 % of all thromboembolic strokes; it affects 2 million people in Europe every year, making it the most common cardiovascular disorder after cardiopathy (9.6 million). In addition, strokes linked to atrial fibrillation are more serious, cause more severe disabilities and are 70 % more likely to result in death than other types of stroke.
In view of the above, could the Commission answer the following questions:
Is there a European strategy on atrial fibrillation and is new research into the disease being funded under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development?
Has the European Medicines Agency authorised for sale in the EU drugs designed to combat this disease?