Stroke specialists have called for national screening programmes to be introduced for people over the age of 65.
The call follows a meeting held to find ways of improving diagnosis and treatment for atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart condition which significantly increases the risk of stroke.
People become at greater risk of AF, the most common heart disorder, as they age. Blood-thinning drugs can be administered to combat the condition, but as it can be symptom-less, it often goes under-treated.
Experts who attended the meeting concluded the most cost-effective way of rolling out a national screening programme would be to check the pulses of all over-65s in GP surgeries. Those with irregular pulses would then undergo further tests.
The meeting was convened by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE), and attended by more than 120 stroke specialists from around the country.
There experts reviewed the current evidence surrounding the condition, and produced clinical guidance for the NHS.
They called on the UK and Scottish governments to “urgently” implement the checks in order to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by stroke.