(October 23, 2014) – The Cayman Islands Atrial Fibrillation for Elderly (CAFE) stroke prevention study, the first of its kind in the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean, was formally launched October 20th at Health City Cayman Islands in the presence of the Honourable Minister of Health, Youth, Sports and Culture Osbourne Bodden, and Councillor to the Minister of Home & Community Affairs and the Minister for Health, Sports, Youth and Culture, Alva Suckoo. Approximately thirty over-65s were tested using high tech equipment following an explanation of the project by Dr. Irka Ebanks, who is leading the research study and screenings.
Dr. Ebanks outlined the importance of the study and said she hoped with the CAFE study the Cayman Islands would lead the region in stroke prevention.
“We will be screening for Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), otherwise known as arrhythmia, which is an abnormality of the rate or rhythm of the heart. It can beat too fast, too slow or in an irregular fashion,” she said.
“It is extremely important to screen people because in many people, AFib does not cause obvious warning signs. Often people don’t realise they have Afib, but the condition needs to be diagnosed because it can lead to a stroke,” she said.
Health City is aiming to test 3000 people in Cayman over the age of 65 to assess and help treat their risk of stroke as well as collect enough clinical data for a medical study on the subject of Atrial Fibrillation or arrhythmia.
Screenings will be held throughout the month of October in key locations around the island. The screenings are non-invasive, powered by an iPhone app that reads pulse vibrations, and takes under 10 minutes to complete. The hospital is urging all people over the age of 65 to be tested.