Professor Ben Freedman

Our mission is to detect silent atrial fibrillation in the population and treat it, to prevent as many strokes as possible.

Ben Freedman is currently Deputy Director of Research Strategy, Heart Research Institute/Charles Perkins Centre and Group Leader of the Heart Rhythm and Stroke Prevention Group. He is a professor of Cardiology at the University of Sydney and former head of Department of Cardiology Concord Hospital. He is also an adjunct professor in the School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine at Monash University, and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He was Deputy Dean of Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney's Medical Faculty for 9 years from 2003 to 2012, and received the Faculty's inaugural Distinguished Service Award in 2012. He also heads Vascular Biology at Anzac Research Institute on the Concord Hospital Campus. In 2011, he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to medicine as a clinician, educator, and researcher. His research interests are broad but now focus on atrial fibrillation: his group's work on screening was nominated as a finalist in the Australian Innovation award in 2013. With five others, he formed the AF-SCREEN International Collaboration which now has over 130 members from 33 countries, including many of the foremost names in AF research. He has authored over 180 publications and a number of book chapters.

Current Appointments

Deputy Director of Research Strategy, The Heart Research Institute and Charles Perkins Centre
Honorary Professor, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney
Honorary VMO, Department of Cardiology, Concord Hospital 
Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine at Monash University
Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne
International Editorial Board of the European Heart Journal, and the International Journal of Cardiology
Section Editor Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Editorial Board of ACCEL (extended learning program of the American College of Cardiology)
Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP)
Fellow, American College of Cardiology (FACC)
Fellow, American Heart Association (FAHA)
Fellow, European Society of Cardiology (FESC)
Fellow, Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (FCSANZ)
Founding member, AF-SCREEN International Collaboration 
Professor Ben Freedman leads group:
Research covers areas of:
Contact Professor Ben Freedman
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More about Professor Ben Freedman

Research Project Opportunities
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  • Study in general practice using smartphone ECG and an electronic decision support tool (current)
  • Study of recurrence of postoperative AF after non-cardiac surgery in Concord Hospital, and now in Royal Perth Hospital and Gosford Hospital (POAF, current)
  • Collaboration with the Poche Centre to screen for AF in Aboriginal Australians in remote and rural NSW, extending to NT and WA (current)
  • Collaboration with researchers in Royal Melbourne Hospital to detect AF post stroke in Australia, Hong Kong and China (SPOT-AF, current)
  • Collaboration with researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to screen for AF in cardiac clinics, general practice and the community (over 15,000 people screened) (current)
  • Collaboration with researchers in Shanghai to screen for AF in community centres (AF-CATCH, current)
  • Collaboration with pharmacists in London to screen for AF in pharmacies and test pathways for referral for treatment (to commence Q4 2017)
  • Collaboration with Hamburg and Gutenberg Heart studies (Germany) on screening for AF (current)
  • Collaboration with researchers in Frankfurt Germany about epidemiology of AF (current)
Latest Publications
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Lip GYH, Freedman SB, De Caterina R, Potpara TS. Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation: Past, present and future. Comparing the guidelines and practical decision-making. Thomb Haemost 2017;117:1230-39

Fay MR, Fitzmaurice DA, Freedman B. Screening of older patients for atrial fibrillation in general practice: current evidence and its implications for future practice. Eur J Gen Pract 2017 in press

Freedman B, Boriani G, Glotzer T, Healey J, Kirchhof P, Potpara T. Management of Atrial High Rate Episodes Detected by Cardiac Implanted Electronic Devices. Nature Rev Cardiol 2017 in press

Gray B, Kirby A, Kabunga B, Freedman B, Yeates L, Kanthan A, Medi C, Keech A, Sensarian C, Sy RW. Twelve-lead ambulatory ECG monitoring in Brugada Syndrome: potential diagnostic and prognostic implications. Heart Rhythm 2017; 14:866-74.

Tu H, Chen Z, Swift, C, Churilov L,  Guo R,  Liu X,  Jannes J,  Mok VCT, Freedman SB, Davis SM,  Yan B. Smartphone Electrographic Monitoring For Atrial Fibrillation in Acute Ischemic Stroke and transient ischemic attack (SPOT-AF). Int J Stroke. 2017 in press

Simons L, Ortiz M, Freedman B,  Waterhouse BJ, Colquhoun D. Medium to long-term persistence with non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation:  Australian experience. CMRO 2017, May 10,  DOI: 10:1080.2017.0321535

Wang J, Chen Y, Huang QF, Freedman B. Rationale and design of the randomized controlled trial of intensive versus usual ECG screening for atrial fibrillation in elderly Chinese by an automated ECG system in the community health centre in Shanghai (AF-CATCH). Cardiovasc Innov Applications April 2017, in press

Freedman B, Calkins H, Camm J et al (60 co-authors). Screening for atrial fibrillation: a report of the AF-SCREEN International Collaboration (white paper) Circulation 2017; 135: 1851-67.

Martinez C, Suissa S, Reitbrock S, Katholing A, Freedman B, Cohen AT, Handelsman DH. Testosterone treatment and risk of venous thromboembolism. BMJ 2016; 355: i5968

Freedman B. AF-SCREEN International Collaboration. Eur Heart J 2016; 37: 3490-91

Orchard, J, Lowres N, Freedman S Ben, Ladak L, Lee W, Zwar N, Peiris D, Kalamadasa Y, Li J, Neubeck L. Screeening for atrial fibrillation during influenza vaccinations by primary care nurses using a smartphone electrocardiograph (iECG): A feasibility study. Eur J Prevent Cardiol 2016; 23 (2S): 13-20

Murphy A, Banerjee A, Breitardt G, Camm J, Commerford P, Freedman B, Gonzales Hermosillo J, Halperin J, Lau C, Perel P, Xavier D, Wood D, Jouven X, and Morillo C. The Word Heart Federation Roadmap for Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation GlobalHeart 2017; Mar 20. pii: S2211-8160(17)30015-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gheart.2017.01.015.

Gwynne, K, Flaskas Y, O’Brien C, Jeffries TL, McCowen D, Finlayson H, Martin T, Neubeck L, Freedman B. Opportunistic screening to detect atrial fibrillation in Aboriginal adults. BMJ open 2016; 6 (11): e013576.

Orchard J, Lowres N, Freedman S Ben et al. Feasibility of screening for atrial fibrillation in primary care: Just a heartbeat away? Eur J Prevent Cardiol  2016; 23: 1782-4

Freedman B and Lip GYH. “Unreal World” or “real world” data in oral anticoagulant treatment of atrial fibrillation. Thromb Haemost 2016; 116: 587-89

Simons L, Ortiz M, Freedman SB, Waterhouse BJ, Coquhoun D, Thomas G. Improved persistence with non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants compared with warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation: recent Australian experience. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 2016; 32:1857-61.

Freedman B, Potpara T, Lip GYH. Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. Lancet 2016; 388: 806-17. With accompanying editorial and blog.

Freedman B. Screening for atrial fibrillation using a smartphone: is there an app for that? J Am Heart Assoc. 2016;5:e004000 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.004000.

Lim Z, Gallagher R, Orchard J, Lowres N, Freedman SB, Neubeck L. Using the "think aloud" technique to explore quality of life issues during standard quality of life questionnaires in patients with atrial fibrillation  Heart Lung Circulation 2016; July online:

Chan T, Dabin B, Hyun K, Ranasinghe I, Neubeck L , Aliprandi-Costa B, Lefkovits J, Devlin G, Juergens C, Chew DP, Brieger D, Freedman SB.  Falling Cholesterol Trend at Acute Coronary Syndrome Presentation is Strongly Related to Statin Use for Secondary Prevention. Int J Cardiol 2016; 212: 192-7.

Lowres N, Neubeck L, Freedman SB. Can screening for atrial fibrillation be implemented at scale? Europace 2016; 18 (10): 1449-51.

Lip GYH, Fauchier L, Freedman SB, van Gelder I, Gianni C, Lane D, Natale A, Nattel S, Potpara T, Rienstra M, Tse HF. Atrial Fibrillation. Nature Disease Primers March 31 2016.

Freedman B, Martinez C, Katholing A, Rietbrock S. Residual Risk of Stroke and Death in Anticoagulant Treated Patients With Atrial Fibrillation JAMA Cardiol 2016; 1 (3, June): 366-8.

Lowres N,  Mulcahy G, Gallagher R, Freedman SB,  Marshman D, Kirkness A, Orchard J, Neibeck L. Self-monitoring for atrial fibrillation recurrence in the discharge period post-cardiac surgery using an iPhone ECG. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2016; doi:10.1093/ejcts/ezv486.

Kirchhof P et al (incl Freedman SB). A roadmap to improve the quality of atrial fibrillation management: Summary of the proceedings from the 5th AFNET/EHRA consensus conference. Europace  2016 Jan;18(1):37-50

For a full list of Professor Ben Freedman's publications, visit

Awards for Research
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Arrhythmia Alliance (global): Award for outstanding individual who has contributed to arrhythmia services in 2016
University of Sydney Medical Faculty inaugural Distinguished Service Award, 2012
Order of Australia Medal for service to medicine as a clinician, educator, and researcher, 2011
R.T. Hall Prize. Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, 1982 (premier research prize of CSANZ)
1981     PhD, University of Sydney
1973     MBBS Hons II, University of Sydney
1970     BSc (Med), Hons 1, University of Sydney
Research Grants
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NSW CVRN Chief Investigator B (Lis Neubeck Chief Investigator A): Atrial fibrillation screening with iPhone ECG: implementation in the primary care setting, 2016-2017
Anonymous Foundation: Grant in aid to enhance research outcomes from the two Heart Foundation 2016 grants, 2016-2017
Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant: Using an innovative device to detect atrial fibrillation in indigenous people (AI), 2016
Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant: Identifying early recurrent post-operative atrial fibrillation to prevent stroke, Chief Investigator A, 2016
Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant: GP-SEARCH-AF screening and treatment of atrial fibrillation, Chief Investigator A, 2015
MRC Hong Kong: Grant in aid - Screening for AF in outpatient clinics, 2014-2016
Anonymous Foundation: Grant in aid - GP SEARCH-AF, Chief Investigator A, 2014-2015
Bayer Australia: Grant-in aid - SEARCH-AF economic analysis, Chief Investigator A, 2013
BMS/Pfizer: Grant in aid - SEARCH-AF, Chief Investigator A, 2012-2013
Heart Foundation: Grant in aid with Witting P and Geczy CG - Serum Amyloid A and endothelial function, 2011-2012
Boehringer Ingelheim: Seed funding for SEARCH-AF and HELP-AF, Chief Investigator A, 2011