'Outstanding progress' made in treatment of heart disease

Tuesday, 01 April, 2008

Government targets met five years ahead of schedule.

The faster delivery of thrombolysis has been a major factor in the outstanding progress made by the NHS in reducing heart disiease deaths, according to two recently published reports.

The target of reducing deaths from CVD for people under 75 by 40 per cent has been met by the Department of Health five years early, according to the Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) National Service Framework (NSF) Progress Report.

Emergency care is delivering thrombolysis more quickly for people suffering a heart attack. In early 2001, 24 per cent of patients received thrombolysis within 60 minutes of a call for help; now it is almost 70 per cent.

Other contributing factors include a dramatic drop in waiting times for heart surgery and an increase in prescriptions for cholesterol-reducing statins. The report also reflects on the success of the £735 million Capital Programme in providing facilities for treating patients with CHD.

Commenting on the good news, Health Minister, Ann Keen said, "We have made ongoing and sustainable improvements to the treatment of heart disease that have dramatically reduced mortality rates.

This is an outstanding achievement by all NHS staff and I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work and dedication that has made it possible."

The interim results of the National Infarct Angioplasty Project (NIAP) were also published recently.

This joint Department of Health / British Cardiovascular Society study, examines the feasibility of offering primary angioplasty as the nation's first line treatment for heart attack.

The NIAP interim report presents findings from 'real life' services which accord with findings from recent clinical trials. It has been looking at the practicalities and challenges of offering angioplasty as an emergency treatment in different medical settings and geographical locations across the country.

The report found that development of primary angioplasty services is feasible in a variety of geographic settings, but that establishing a primary angioplasty service requires a multidisciplinary approach and good communication between all stakeholders.

It concluded that acceptable times to treatment are achievable by direct, or indirect, admission to a primary angioplasty centre.

A further report on NIAP, to be published later this year, will consider costs, workforce implications, the patient experience and patients' follow up data one year on.

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