Stroke Recovery Association NSW > Research > Listen to Your Heart and Mind

Listen to Your Heart and Mind

What is the research study about?

You are invited to take part in a pilot study that aims to determine the feasibility of a combined screening for high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm problem), hearing loss, and thinking and memory function (cognitive function) impairment in order to aid in early detection of these conditions. A secondary aim of this study is to investigate the associations between these conditions.

The number of older Australians is increasing. In Australian adults aged 65 years and over, 1 in 3 are
affected by hearing loss and almost half are affected by high blood pressure. Risk of atrial fibrillation
also increases with age. High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for preventable deaths both in
Australia and globally, yet half of those affected are unaware of it. This is likely due to the lack of
associated symptoms and lack of consistent, regular blood pressure checks. Furthermore, high blood
pressure, atrial fibrillation and hearing loss are all risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia.
Early detection of these conditions is therefore key to reduce the associated risks through early

Inclusion criteria:

• Willing and able to consent to participate in the research study

• Age 65 years or over

• Able to speak and read English

Exclusion criteria:

• Unable to provide consent

• Known or clinically diagnosed cognitive impairment / dementia

What does participation in this research require, and are there any risks involved?

If you agree to participate, you will be asked to complete the following research procedures.

Appointment visit: You will be required to attend a study appointment at Macquarie University that
will take approximately 60 minutes. During this appointment, your blood pressure will be measured
and presence of atrial fibrillation will be detected. You will also undergo a short memory and thinking
function test and a comprehensive hearing test. Your results will be explained to you verbally and,
with your consent, a printed GP letter with a summary of the results will be given to you. During the
appointment, you will also be asked some questions regarding your heart health and hearing health
through two health questionnaires (demographic/medical history questionnaire; hearing health questionnaire). There will also be a brief 2-question post-study questionnaire at the end of the

Interview: A subgroup of participants will be invited to participate in an optional telephone or video
interview via an online platform (Zoom) within one week of the study appointment. During the interview,
you will be asked questions about your experience in the study. The interview will take approximately
30 minutes. With your permission, the research team would like to audio record the interview.
Risks: The researchers anticipate minimal potential discomfort to participants as the research only
involves blood pressure measurement, hearing assessment, a brief cognitive function test, and a semistructured interview. Blood pressure and cognitive assessments will be carried out by qualified research staff and hearing assessments will be carried out by a qualified audiologist or a student audiologist under the supervision of a qualified audiologist. Heart rhythm is assessed by a blood pressure monitor that can detect abnormal heart rhythm during the blood pressure assessment. If you feel any discomfort during these assessments, you can ask for the procedures to be stopped at any point in time.
The assessments conducted for this study is only for research purposes and any findings cannot
constitute as a clinical diagnosis. However, there may be potential distress if testing reveals suboptimal
findings. If testing reveals you may have high blood pressure, hearing loss, or thinking and memory
function impairment, you will be advised to seek further clinical evaluation and review. If your blood
pressure is found to be very high (> 180/120 mmHg), you will be advised to seek urgent medical care.
To minimise the risk of any discomfort and anxiety arising from answering questions during the
interview, we will use a semi-structured guide, open-ended questions, and be conversational and
informal in our approach. In addition, you can skip questions, take breaks, or end the interview at any

Additional Costs and Reimbursement: There are no costs associated with participating in this
research project, nor will you be paid. However, you will receive a $25 Coles Group & Myer gift card
(redeemable at participating stores) to reimburse you for any reasonable travel, parking, meals and
other expenses while completing the research study.

If you have any questions please contact: Dr Isabella Tan on 8052 4300 or

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