Heart Failure Rehab rears its ugly head again

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More heart patients should benefit from cardiac rehabilitation, health campaigners have said. They made the plea after new figures showed just 3% of eligible patients with heart failure were offered this, compared to about two-thirds of those who have had either a heart attack or cardiac bypass surgery.

Across Scotland, a total of 65.2% of heart attack patients were referred for cardiac rehabilitation, as were 68.5% of people who had bypass surgery. But just 3.1% of those with heart failure were referred for rehabilitation, along with only 7.4% of those with unstable angina. Pumping Marvellous find this digraceful and this indicates the attitude towards Heart Failure and how to deal with the ever growing problem by the NHS.

While 7,845 heart attack patients were referred for rehabilitation between April 2010 and March 2011, only 144 people with heart failure and 340 with unstable angina were put forward.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland and Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland are now calling for more of these patents to benefit from the treatment. The two charities argued that rehabilitation only costed about £600 per patient, and could help save lives, with heart patients 30% less likely to die over a 10-year period if they have taken part in a cardiac rehab programme.

Ben McKendrick, senior policy and public affairs manager at BHF Scotland, said: “Cardiac rehab saves lives but there is an unacceptable gulf between the levels of support offered to patients with different heart conditions.

“When someone suffers a heart problem – be it angina, a heart attack or heart failure – they not only suffer a damaged heart but often a damaged spirit as well. Heart patients tell us that cardiac rehab helps mend that spirit and puts them on the road to living a full life again.”

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said “excellent” progress had been made in offering rehabilitation. She said: “In 2007 around 45% of people in the clinical priority groups had access to cardiac rehabilitation, this figure has now risen to 65%. While this substantial increase is a great achievement, we recognise that there is still much more to do to help improve the quality of care for people living with heart failure.

“Our National Advisory Committee on heart disease will continue to work closely with cardiac services and the voluntary sector to take this forward. Our focus is not just on providing the best possible care in the acute setting, but also on helping people’s longer-term recovery in their own communities.”

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