Individuals with atrial fibrillation are at increased risk of an ischemic stroke. Active detection of atrial fibrillation (AF) and optimal referral and treatment of patients could prevent an estimated 1500 ischemic strokes annually. Effective collaboration between primary and secondary care professionals is essential for achieving this goal of stroke prevention attributed to AF. This is the primary objective of the implementation consortium known as CUSTOM-AF.

The CUSTOM-AF was founded in June 2020 and restarted in 2022. CUSTOM-AF implementation consortium aims to share successful practice examples with regional networks and develop guidelines for organizing active detection and integrated care within a network. Additionally, consortium partners seek innovative methods for general practitioners to detect and manage AF without necessitating hospital referrals.

With this consortium, the Dutch Heart Foundation, NVVC Connect, Harteraad, and the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance, all work together towards optimal care for patients with AF. The Dutch College of General Practitioners (NHG) serves as a key advisor to the consortium.

The Research
The scope of the consortium has been expanded to include two disorders: heart failure and AF. The consortium has undertaken significant initiatives over the past two years (2020-2022) to advance its objectives:

  1. Guideline Development: The consortium developed the "Screening and Treatment Optimization for AF" guideline, designed to facilitate early detection of AF within regional healthcare systems.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: A comprehensive analysis conducted to assess various screening scenarios for AF, evaluating the economic feasibility of different approaches.
  3. Thematic Collaboration: In early 2022, a thematic collaboration titled "Juiste Hartzorg op de Juiste Plek" was established in partnership with the Heart Foundation and ZonMw. This collaboration secured funding for 22 regions to support transmural collaboration on AF and HF, with a focus on early detection and treatment optimization.

Moving forward from September 2022, NVVC Connect will intensify support for the regions by emphasizing continuous improvement through the PDCA cycle, facilitating knowledge sharing, and implementing innovative approaches such as Check@home. These efforts are aimed at strengthening collaboration and improving outcomes in AF and HF care across the participating regions.

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Contact person:

MSc. A. de Bruin (Anja)

Principal investigators

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The aim of the LoDoCo2 (Low Dose Colchicine for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease) trial was to investigate the effect of low dose colchicine (0,5 mg once daily) on the risk of myocardial infarction (fatal or non-fatal), stroke, or the need for coronary bypass or stent placement. While the precise mechanism through which colchicine mitigates major cardiovascular events remains incompletely understood, it is hypothesized that its anti-inflammatory effects contribute to risk reduction among patients with established atherosclerotic disease. LoDoCo2 stands out in several respects. It represents a large-scale randomized clinical trial conducted entirely by a non-academic network of cardiologists and a consortium of pharmaceutical companies with a focus on drug repurposing. This trial underscores the potential value of older, often cost-effective medications in advancing the development of new innovative drugs. The Research Following a median follow-up period of 3 years, the addition of colchicine to standard treatment resulted in a 30% reduction in risk of myocardial infarction (fatal or non-fatal), stroke, or the need for coronary bypass or stent placement. Patients treated with colchicine exhibited similar side effects compared to those receiving a placebo. Furthermore, no interactions were found with other commonly used drugs such as (potent) statins. In 2021, certain international guidelines had already incorporated colchicine into the secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Subsequently, in 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lodoco® (colchicine) for reducing the risk of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, coronary revascularization, and cardiovascular (CV) death in adult patients with established atherosclerotic disease or multiple risk factors for CV disease. This approval was based on published data regarding the effects of colchicine on cardiovascular events, along with insights from the LoDoCo2 trial. The LoDoCo2 investigators anticipate that colchicine will become the standard treatment for patients with coronary artery disease.
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Clinical staff in hospital wards traditionally collect vital signs periodically to assess a patient's cardiorespiratory status, often with intervals of 6 to 10 hours. This method, known as spot-checking, has limitations due to its infrequent nature and dependence on contact sensors, which can be uncomfortable for patients, particularly during sleep. The Focus Recent advancements demonstrate that vital signs like heart rate, respiration rate, blood oxygen saturation, and temperature can be monitored remotely using camera-based methods, which are less invasive compared to contact sensors. This innovation could significantly enhance patient comfort by enabling continuous monitoring without the need for frequent interventions by clinical staff. Continuous monitoring also allows for trend analysis of vital signs, offering a comprehensive assessment of a patient's cardiorespiratory condition. Additionally, camera-based methods enable video context analysis, such as detecting patient movements or identifying pain through facial expression analysis. This project explores the use of continuous video monitoring as an unobtrusive method to predict and monitor patient deterioration or adverse events. The Research Initially, the feasibility and reliability of camera-based continuous monitoring will be evaluated using data from consenting patients in the ICU at Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven and healthy volunteers. Subsequently, robust technologies will be developed to automatically detect signs of patient deterioration by generating automated early warning scores based on measured vital signs. Throughout the project, feedback from clinical staff and patient experiences will inform the design and implementation of camera-based technologies and early warning systems.
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