Basketball Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Joins No Time to Wait Campaign to Raise Awareness of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and its Symptoms


Approximately 9.5 million people in the U.S. are projected to have AFib in 2023, with the number expected to rise to approximately 12.1 million by 2030; many ignore their symptoms, not realizing that AFib increases their risk of stroke by about five times

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is teaming up with Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and its symptoms as part of the No Time to Wait campaign. In support of the campaign, Abdul-Jabbar will share his experience with AFib, including what led to his diagnosis, and encourage others to speak to a healthcare professional if they are having symptoms. Most common symptoms of AFib include irregular heartbeat, heart racing, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and light-headedness.1

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Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance (Photo: Bristol Myers Squibb)

Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance (Photo: Bristol Myers Squibb)

“When I first started to experience symptoms like shortness of breath and light-headedness, I dismissed them until they reached a point where I could no longer ignore them and I ended up in the hospital where I was diagnosed with AFib,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I’ve joined the No Time to Wait campaign with Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer because I want my experience to help others understand the symptoms of AFib. Health is nothing to play around with. I hope my story can help motivate others to speak with a healthcare professional if they are experiencing symptoms.”

Approximately 9.5 million people in the U.S. are projected to have AFib in 2023; however, many people remain undiagnosed, dismissing their symptoms because they can come and go and can vary.1,2 Because AFib increases the risk of stroke by about five times, it is important for individuals to seek medical attention if they are experiencing these symptoms.3 Only a healthcare professional can determine whether symptoms indicate AFib or another condition.

“In my experience, I have seen many patients ignore or dismiss their symptoms, potentially delaying diagnosis and treatment,” said Andrea Russo, M.D., cardiologist and academic chief in the division of cardiology and director of cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmia services at Cooper University Health System in Camden, N.J. “Because AFib can lead to serious consequences, including increasing the risk of stroke, it’s critical individuals are empowered to speak with a healthcare professional about any symptoms they may have. No symptom or concern is too small or insignificant.”

“Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer are committed to supporting patient communities and our partnership with Kareem, alongside both professional and patient advocacy organizations, on No Time to Wait is one way we are acting on this long-term commitment,” said Tom Garner, Head of U.S. Cardiovascular and Established Brands, Bristol Myers Squibb. “By educating on the common symptoms of AFib, we believe we can help people better understand the disease and encourage important and timely conversations with a healthcare professional.”

People can visit to learn more about Abdul-Jabbar’s diagnosis journey, as well as common AFib symptoms and how to prepare for a medical appointment.

About the No Time to Wait Campaign

The Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance launched the No Time to Wait campaign to raise awareness of symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)/pulmonary embolism (PE) in 2020. Seeking medical attention early may help reduce the chance of AFib leading to, or DVT/PE becoming, something more serious. AFib, the most common irregular heartbeat, increases the risk for stroke by approximately five times. DVT is a condition where the blood forms clots, which could travel to your lungs and lead to a PE – and can be deadly. To learn more about AFib and DVT/PE, including the associated symptoms and how to prepare for a healthcare appointment, visit

About the Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer Collaboration

The Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance (the Alliance) is committed to driving education and awareness about atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism (PE). With long-standing cardiovascular leadership, global scale and expertise in this field, the Alliance strives to implement global, research-driven approaches to illuminate and address the unmet needs around strokes related to non-valvular atrial fibrillation, which are often fatal or debilitating. Through collaborations with non-profit organizations, the Alliance aims to provide patients, healthcare professionals and decision makers with the information they need to understand and take appropriate action on risk factors associated with stroke and other cardiovascular conditions.

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

About Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at In addition, to learn more, please visit us on and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer News, LinkedIn, YouTube and like us on Facebook at


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, October 14). Atrial fibrillation. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from
2 Collila 2023 AFib Projection
3 High blood pressure, afib and your risk of stroke. (2022, September 14). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from

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Pfizer Inc.
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Source: Bristol Myers Squibb

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