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Elderly are missing out on basic heart care

25th July 2012

Researchers at Newcastle University say older people are not being given "basic heart care" which could improve their quality of life.

Old Hands

Their study found that 25% of 300 people aged from 87-89 years old had a problem with their hearts which had not been diagnosed.

The team said medication could be used to treat heart problems in the elderly which would reduce costly hospital visits.

The researchers said the NHS should offer people aged over 85 who suffered from breathlessness a scan at home in order to increase diagnosis rates.

The research, which was published in the Heart journal, said the number of people with problems was likely to rise in the future. 

Lead researcher Prof Bernard Keavney said: "We were surprised to discover just how many older people have heart problems. Many of these people could be treated with drugs that we know work, if their condition were recognised."

"This would improve their quality of life and it's likely to slow their progression to heart failure." 

The Department of Health said heart disease rates had fallen by 40% over the last decade but added that "more must be done".

"We are currently developing a cardiovascular disease strategy which will consider how we better identify and treat heart diseases for people of all ages, including older people.

"NICE has recently published a quality standard on heart failure, which defines the best clinical practice for this service." 

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