Heart failure death rate decreasing due to better treatment available

A recent report published by the National Heart Failure shows that the death rate of heart failure is decreasing due to better treatment after being admitted to hospitals in England and Wales (BBC News, 2017).

The National Heart Failure Audit found that 8.9% of patients had died in 2015-16, down from 9.6% the previous year, saving around 500 lives. However, it was reported that there is still too many deaths from heart failure and too much variation across the country so experts have recommended for improvements across England so more people receive optimal treatment (Donkor, McDonagh and Hardman, 2017).

An assessment of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure at NHS Trusts also shows that more people are being provided with crucial medicines for heart disease as well as greater access to treatment by heart specialists. Acute heart failure is a life-threatening condition, which as well as immediate danger to life can have significant long-term consequences for people. Tackling heart failure is becoming a more significant challenge for the NHS due to the ageing population (NHS England, 2017).

In 2010-11, the death rate was 11.6% and apart from a slight rise in 2013-14, the rate has continued to fall resulting in the mortality rate to decrease. The most recent figures are based on more than 66,000 admissions to English and Welsh hospitals where the main diagnosis was heart failure which is a condition caused by the heart failing to pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure. It can cause shortness of breath, exhaustion and ankle swelling, and when these symptoms develop quickly, patients need urgent hospital treatment (Donkor, McDonagh and Hardman, 2017).

The audit of NHS heart failure performance shows that:

  • The mortality rate for people treated for heart failure has decreased for inpatients and one year after treatment.
  • 80 per cent of patients reporting heart failure at hospitals in England and Wales were seen by specialists.
  • Nine in ten patients admitted to hospital received an echocardiogram, the key diagnostic test in heart failure conditions.
  • The number of people being treated for heart failure with reduced ventricular ejection fraction, who were seen by a specialist and received all three of the key prescriptions for this condition, has increased from 45 per cent to 47 per cent (NICOR, 2017).

Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director at NHS England, said: “The NHS is helping more people to survive heart failure.”

“This independent study shows that improvements to NHS heart failure services have had a significant positive impact for people suffering this devastating condition. 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” (Webster, 2017).

“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” (Webster, 2017).

Image reference-

BBC NEWS. (2017). Hundreds more surviving heart failure in hospital, study shows. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40881149. [Accessed 10 August 2017].

Text references-

British Society for Heart Failure. (2017). National Heart Failure Audit. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bsh.org.uk/resources/national-heart-failure-audit/. [Accessed 10 August 2017].

Donkor, A., McDonagh, T. and Hardman, S. (2017). National Heart Failure Audit. [online] Available at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/nicor/audits/heartfailure/documents/annualreports/annual-report-2015-6-v8.pdf. [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].

NICOR, (2017) More patients than ever surviving heart failure following key improvements, audit finds [ONLINE].  Available at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/nicor/nicor-news-publication/more-patients-surviving-heart-failure. [Accessed 10 August 2017].

Webster, A. (2017). Heart failure care improves. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2017/august/heart-failure-care-improves?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social-organic&utm_campaign=~T100166&utm_term=&utm_content=. [Accessed 10 August 2017].