Call for early heart tests for Pasifika

Researchers are calling for early heart tests for Maori and Pasifika, after a new study showed the groups are susceptible to irregular heartbeats earlier than other ethnicities.

The research by the University of Auckland and Sydney’s Heart Research Institute has suggested that testing Maori and Pasifika earlier could spare hundreds of people from stroke each year.

The findings have revealed for the first time that Maori and Pasifika develop atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat, one decade earlier than others.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a key stroke risk factor.

Researcher Dr Matire Harwood said work was now being done to make testing more accessible because going to the doctor to get heart rates monitored can take time.

“A lot of the innovation that’s happening here in Auckland has been around perhaps an app and having it done easily in pharmacies and chemists, having it done in waiting rooms in clinics, having it done in people’s homes when nurses are visiting,” said Dr Harwood.

“So trying to improve the accessibility to good screening for us to have a diagnosis is critical.”