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Friday 28th October 2016

Heart failure undiagnosed

6th July 2007

The Healthcare Commission has warned that thousands of people with heart failure could be going undiagnosed.


A review of heart failure services found that the number of people reported to have the condition is 140,000 fewer than expected, sparking fears that many patients are missing out on drugs that would slow the progression of the condition.

When the Healthcare Commission looked at figures on the number of heart failure cases recorded in GP data in 2005/06 and compared them with national prevalence figures it found the numbers fell significantly short of what they expected.

While that may be due to problems with recording patient data on GPs' systems, it could also mean some patients are not getting access to diagnosis and treatment.

The review covered 303 heart failure services and found once patients were referred they generally received a good level of treatment.

Two-thirds of primary care trusts and hospitals scored “excellent? or “good? for their overall services to heart failure patients with a further 89 assessed as “fair.? But the commission described as worrying the fact that 26 were scored as “weak?.

Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker said it was positive to see the improvements made since the last review.

“But our report suggests that not all those that need treatment are getting it,? she added. “Primary care trusts and GPs need to monitor the number of patients they deal with in comparison to national statistics.?

Experts say that widespread use of a blood test known as the BNP test would help to diagnose more patients.

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