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Heart failure mortality rates fall across England and Wales, national audit finds

Published on 11/08/17 at 09:09am

Great news in the cardiovascular space as results from the National Heart Failure Audit indicate that better treatment has led to hundreds of lives being saved, with the mortality rate associated with heart failure in England and Wales dropping to 8.9% in 2015-16 from 9.6% the previous year.

Rates have consistently fallen over the years, with the exception of 2013-14, where the percentage of deaths rose slightly from 2010-11’s 11.6%. The figures draw data from over 66,000 admissions to hospitals across England and Wales where heart failure was the primary diagnosis.

Heart disease is the number one killer across the world, and covers conditions such as coronary artery diseases, stroke, heart failure, among others. As rates of heart failure are common among elderly patients, the disease continues to be a challenge as the population ages.

Key findings of the report showed that an increased number of patients were afforded access to crucial drugs for the condition, and that 90% were able to see a heart specialist.

"This year's report shows modest but important improvements, which are to be celebrated,” the audit read, “but an 8.9% in-patient mortality cannot be accepted and requires urgent attention within every acute trust admitting patients with heart failure."

Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director at NHS England, commented on the report, saying: "Increasing numbers of patients are getting specialist help and the full range of treatments thanks to years of world-leading scientific and clinical research and the efforts of NHS staff. It is a very significant problem, and we recognise that there is scope for even more improvement - but the progress highlighted today will be a spur for us to do even more to improve care and survival rates."

Also commenting on the report, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, noted: "This audit shows promising signs that the quality of hospital care for heart failure is improving, with fewer people dying as a result," he said. "However, we need to build on this progress. It is imperative we continue to close variations in heart-failure care across hospitals and ensure more patients receive the best possible treatments."

Matt Fellows