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a stethoscope image cbAugust 31 2017

More consideration should go into deciding treatments for heart attack patients with other long term health conditions, the British Heart Foundation has indicated.

 The recommendation is based on analysis of the 693,388 cases of heart attack treated in 247 hospitals in England between January 2003 and June 2013. BHF funded the study conducted by University of Leeds researchers who used data from the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP).

“The researchers looked at treatments that guidelines recommend be considered for patients who had a heart attack. They assessed how often these treatments were given and compared this with whether guidelines at that time suggested that they were appropriate,” said the BHF.

Data indicated that 40% of heart attack patients also had a long-term health condition, such as diabetes, stroke, heart failure and renal failure. Of these, “86% did not receive optimal care and these patients had a 250% increased risk of dying compared with patients who did not have a long-term condition.”

In addition, “patients with heart attack and heart failure or renal failure were the least likely to receive optimal care. Patients with heart failure received 7.3% fewer treatments than heart attack patients with no long-term conditions, whilst patients with renal failure received 6.1% fewer treatments.

“These patients had the highest risk of death, and for patients with heart failure and a heart attack, the researchers found that despite optimal heart attack care the risk of death was similar to patients who did not receive all heart attack care opportunities.”

Commenting on the findings, BHF’s medical director, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, said having a long-term condition can complicate treatment. “Choosing the best treatment has to factor in the other medicines that the patient is taking, as well as the potential side-effects. This sometimes means a person doesn’t necessarily get the most effective treatments, but it still could be the best choice under the circumstances.

“This study shows that patients with long-term conditions could see substantial benefits if extra effort is put into deciding the best possible treatments. It also highlights the need for research to develop further treatment options for doctors and more effective medicines for these patients.”

Links:
BHF announcement        
Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) 

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