In December 2019, iRhythm announced that it is participating in the Guard-AF study by Bristol-Myers Squibb–Pfizer. The study aims to determine if earlier detection of atrial fibrillation (AFib) in undiagnosed elderly patients can reduce the rate of stroke. The study will utilize iRhythm’s Zio XT electrocardiogram monitoring system to screen previously undiagnosed people over the age of 70 years.
Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, caused by a blockage in the arteries around the brain. Patients with atrial fibrillation are at an increased risk due to blood being improperly pumped out of the heart, leading to pooling and clot formation that can travel to the brain.
GlobalData estimates that in the US alone, there are over three million prevalent cases of AFib in people over 20 years old, with more than half remaining undiagnosed. Furthermore, there are over 600,000 cases of stroke each year, and the number of ischemic stroke and AFib cases becomes increasingly prevalent in the elderly population.
The early detection and treatment of AFib would help reduce the number of people who suffer from an AFib-related stroke by offering evidence for updating guidelines on AFib detection. With over half of the prevalent population remaining undiagnosed, new evidence-based detection guidelines would also impact the electrophysiology and pharmaceutical treatment markets by potentially increasing the patient pool.