We are extremely busy in our emergency department so please use our services wisely.  In emergency and life-threatening cases continue to come forward as normal or call 999. 

However, if you are unsure about where to go, please call NHS 111 before coming to our emergency department who can best advise you on your next step.

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Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cause of irregular heartbeat, known as cardiac arrythmia. There are 500,000 people with undiagnosed AF in the UK.

AF significantly increases the risk of developing a blood clot in your heart, which can travel to your brain and cause a stroke. 

The good news is that these risks can be significantly reduced with the correct course of treatment.

West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group is leading on a heart rhythm check campaign to get people testing for atrial fibrillation. Find out more below.

Please do not call the hospital or your GP with enquires regarding this heart rhythm check. Neither the hospital nor your GP will be able to help with enquiries about this heart rhythm check campaign.

If you need to get in touch regarding this heart rhythm check campaign please email public.health@wsh.nhs.uk - one of the team will respond, if necessary, within 5 working days. Please be aware that this email address is not checked regularly.


Who are we inviting to take part?

Heart rhythm checks are being offered to people who may be at higher risk of developing AF by Ipswich and West Suffolk Hospitals. Please note that you will need to be specifically invited to participate in this programme, please do not contact the hospital directly requesting to participate. 

The chances of developing AF increase as you get older. It is much more common from age 65+. Having other conditions also makes AF more likely. They include:


  • other diseases of the heart such as coronary heart disease and heart failure
  • high blood pressure
  • an overactive thyroid
  • lung disease
  • chest infections like pneumonia
  • alcohol or drug misuse
  • vascular disease
  • diabetes
  • any previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • a diagnosis of dementia 


What happens if I would like to take part?

We are using new technology to help identify AF in people. This means you will need access to your own smartphone or be able to ask a family member/carer who has a smartphone to help. 

We advise you to watch these videos below for information about using the FibriCheck app and to hear from the doctors taking part in the project


How will the heart rhythm check work?

  1. You will receive an automated text message with a link to further information. The text you receive will come from the following number, DrDoctor that says the text will come from +44 7860 039092. When you have confirmed that you would like to take part, you will receive a second text message with a link to download the Fibricheck app free of charge. This link is unique to you and must not be shared.

  2. You will need to create and activate your account. Instructions on how to do this can be found here. If you require further information with the Fibricheck app you can call the UK support number on 01273 092051 or email support@fibricheck.com. 

  3. Use the FibriCheck to monitor your heart rhythm twice a day for seven days.

  4. You can personalise your notifications. The default is set to one or two reminders a week.

  5. To use the app, simply place your finger on your smartphone camera, located at the back of the phone, for 60 seconds and your heart rhythm will be recorded.

  6. After seven days your results will be reviewed by a specialist nurse or doctor at West Suffolk Hospital.

  7. If further investigation is required, you will be contacted directly via letter providing clear instructions on the next steps, which will include using a different device at home to gather more information. This device will be sent to you free of charge. You will then be contacted by one of the specialist clinical team to discuss the next steps which might involve taking medication. 

Please note that if you wish to continue using the FibriCheck app after the seven day period, this would be at your own cost and results will not be automatically shared with your clinician. 

The goal of the FibriCheck heart health check is to help you and your doctors to understand your heart health. FibriCheck is a screening tool, not a diagnosis. A diagnosis is always made by the treating doctor who is able to consider your complete medical history and advise on the best course of action for you. 

It's important to note that some people experience an irregular heart rhythm every now and then, rather than regularly or constantly. Some people may have a normal heart rhythm and then suddenly get an abnormal one, this is known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. 

Both frequent and infrequent irregular heart rhythms carry the same risks and therefore both require frequent and regular checks. 


How will my information be stored?

FibriCheck is a medically certified app that measures your heart rate and heart rhythm using the camera and flash of your smartphone. The results of these measurements will automatically be shared with your doctor. 

FibriCheck processes and stores your personal and medical data with utmost care using a secure cloud which meets the highest industry standards. FibriCheck’s data security is compliant with GDPR and adheres to NHS cyber security standards. You can find out more by checking FibriCheck’s privacy policy. https://pages.fibricheck.com/privacy-policy/1.5.0/en/

To learn more about how we may use your data and to read the privacy note on AF case finding.

Frequently asked questions and additional information

Click here to view the FAQs.