Dallas, Texas - The American Heart Association and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) are now accepting applications for a $5 million co-funded research initiative within the American Heart Association’s Atrial Fibrillation Strategically Focused Research Network. The American Heart Association’s portion of the joint funding is made possible by a gift from keen supporters of the Association, David and Stevie Spina of Massachusetts.

An estimated 6.1 million or more Americans live with atrial fibrillation (AFib) making it the most common heart abnormality in the U.S. That number is expected to rise to 12.1 million by 2030 and increases the risk of stroke and other heart-related complications.

Last year, the American Heart Association and PCORI collaborated to crowdsource uncertainties and questions from patients and caregivers and address these by crowdsourcing solutions from scientists and clinicians using comparative effectiveness research – research comparing the benefits and harms of alternate health care methods. Based on these initial projects pairing patients and caregivers with scientists and clinicians, the AHA and PCORI are now seeking applications from researchers to form the Decision-making and Choices to Inform Dialogue and Empower A-Fib Patients (DECIDE) Center. The DECIDE Center will test and deliver shared decision-making tools for clinicians and patients to use together to determine which treatment options will work best to provide the desired outcomes for each individual patient. 

“We’re delighted to be collaborating again with the AHA.  When we went with the AHA to patients, we found a lot of concern about how to best prevent strokes in patients who have atrial fibrillation,” said Joe Selby, MD, Executive Director of PCORI. “Much has changed in this area recently and there is confusion about the available options, their risks and benefits. We hope to produce a synthesis of all available information that can help patients and their clinicians make more informed decisions in this area.”

 “Shared decision-making tools will allow patients and their healthcare providers to work together to collectively arrive at the best course of treatment, something that doesn’t always happen today,” said Jennifer L. Hall, PhD, Chief of the Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. “We know a high percentage of individuals with AFib are not prescribed appropriate long-term oral anticoagulation therapy, even though this therapy is understood to reduce the risk of stroke associated with AFib by more than 60 percent. We want to be sure that patients and their healthcare providers have the best tools to help them come to decisions based on the best available evidence. Taking a personalized patient approach to identify a precise treatment plan is the future of science.”