One Lapse In Heart Attack Care 'Can Prove Fatal'

British Heart Foundation Research Shows Just One Lapse In Care Can Be Fatal

16.09.2014

Heart attack patients who miss just one treatment appointment are more likely to die within just one month of being discharged from hospital, according to a new medical study.

This is the conclusion of an investigation carried out by Dr Chris Gale from the University of Leeds on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, which found that those who miss just one of the nine treatments they are required to receive are 46 per cent more likely to pass away within four weeks and have a 74 per cent greater chance of dying within the next year.

These nine treatments include taking aspirin, having an electrocardiogram, using different drugs in a timely manner and being referred for cardiac rehabilitation upon leaving hospital.

Despite the wide range of care on offer, the study found that of 31,000 heart attack patients who left hospital between January 2007 and January 2010, approximately 50 per cent missed the chance to receive at least one form of potentially life-saving care.

In addition, it was found that hospitals with fewer specialist beds for patients who had suffered a cardiac arrest were among the most likely to miss opportunities to deliver the highest standard of treatment.

Hospitals with no specialist beds at all were 11 per cent more likely to miss care opportunities than those with at least 50.

Medical director of the British Heart Foundation Peter Weissberg commented: "The key message is that someone's recovery from a heart attack is not solely dependent on any single elements of the care pathway. This research shows the importance of ensuring all elements of care for heart attack patients are optimally delivered.

"By focusing on these findings, all centres should be able to improve further the outcome for their patients suffering a heart attack."

The charity's research was based on data relating to the care of more than 100,000 heart attack patients in the UK. The results have been published in the European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care.

Expert Opinion
Providing the best possible care to those who have suffered a cardiac event is vital. Speed and accuracy of treatment for those who have suffered a heart attack can mean the difference between life and death.

“It is vital the findings of this report are considered and steps are taken to analyse the care received by patients who have had a heart attack. Such research provides an important insight into the care pathway and places a great emphasis on ensuring that everything possible is done to guarantee that patients get the necessary care.

“Everyone should have access to the same treatment options and aftercare, no matter where they are based. All elements of care should be provided to those recovering from a heart attack and it is crucial all heart facilities consider where they may be able to improve care standards to reduce the likelihood of patients suffering further cardiac arrests.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner