Hundreds more people surviving heart failure, independent study finds

Improvements in patient care mean hundreds more people are surviving heart failure, a new independent study has found.

A report published today has found that the mortality rate for people admitted to hospital with heart failure has dropped from 9.6 per cent to 8.9 per cent. The reduction in the mortality rate means that in the region of 500 lives have been saved in the past year compared to 2014/15.

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.

The findings come from a new independent audit of NHS services to treat acute heart failure between April 2015 and March 2016. The National Heart Failure Audit is based on an analysis of 66,695 admissions to English and Welsh hospitals where the patient’s main diagnosis is for heart failure.  This is the largest audit ever, using data from 82 per cent of all heart failure admissions in England and 77 per cent of those in Wales.

The audit of NHS heart failure performance shows that:

  • The mortality rate for people treated for heart failure has decreased for inpatients and for thirty days 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.

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.

“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.”

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