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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Call for better heart failure care

9th December 2010

A new report has suggested that thousands of patients are dying early every year because of regional variations in the treatment of heart failure.


The National Heart Failure Audit says the postcode lottery leads to some 5,000 heart failure patients dying needlessly.

It is concerned that many are being treated on the wrong hospital wards while others are prescribed too little medication to be effective.

The audit revealed that there are variations in NHS trust admission policies, which affects survival rates.

There are more than 700,000 sufferers in the UK, and a significant number who are admitted to hospital are twice as likely to die if they are put on a non-cardiac ward.

Dr Theresa McDonagh, who headed the audit, said: “It shows that patients who are admitted to hospital with heart failure have an unacceptably high death rate.

“Outcomes for these patients can be significantly improved by having specialist cardiology input to their care, administration of appropriate evidence- based doses of key drugs and follow-up by specialist services.”

Figures show that a third of people with heart failure die within a year of being admitted to hospital, though his drops to a quarter for those who are cared for by a hospital cardiologist or specialist heart failure services.

The audit suggested this equated to 5,000 lives a year that could be saved.

The survey analysed 21,000 patient records from England and Wales found the chance of dying in hospital doubled for patients put on non-cardiology wards, from 6% to 12%.


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