Variation in Mortality Rates for Heart Failure Patients
Another reason for Pumping Marvellous to exist and flourish, especially for those without support.
A major new audit of heart failure patients in England and Wales has uncovered wide variations in mortality rates.
The National Heart Failure Audit analysed 21,294 medical records for patients admitted to hospital for heart failure between April 2009 and March 2010. It found that, overall, about 32 per cent of heart failure patients died within a year of hospital admission.
The report underlined the value of cardiologists and specialist heart failure services, as mortality rates fell to 23 per cent for patients with access to these. It also showed that in-patient mortality is 12 per cent for heart failure patients on a non-cardiac ward, compared to just six per cent for those on dedicated cardiac wards.
Clinical lead Dr Theresa McDonagh, chair of the British Society for Heart Failure, said: ‘This audit shows that patients 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.’
The audit, which is run jointly by the NHS Information Centre and the British Society for Heart Failure, also revealed that many patients do not get the recommended dose of drugs such as ACE inhibitors and beta blockers.
Just 60 per cent of patients for whom dosing information was available were prescribed beta blockers – which can reduce mortality by around a third – and two-thirds received less than half of the recommended dose.
And of those patients for whom information was available on ACE inhibitors – which can halve mortality during the first year after discharge – half received less than 50 per cent of the target dose.
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said that treatment for heart failure should be given the same priority as that for heart attacks.
‘But while there have been huge improvements in the management of heart attack patients, the same cannot be said for people with heart failure,’ he claimed.
‘There are more than 700,000 people living with heart failure in the UK and this number is set to increase, so it’s vital we address this issue.’
Without sounding arrogant we could have told you so on each statement made within the commentary above.