News, Culture & Society

Heart attack victims are dying early

Heart attack patients with other long-term health conditions are dying early simply because they are not being given the right care, a large study has found.

People with problems such as diabetes and stroke have lower survival rates than people without such conditions if they suffer a heart attack.

Researchers revealed that these patients have a staggering 250 per cent greater risk of early death.

They found an alarming number of ‘missed opportunities’ to save these patients. 

Heart attack victims with other long-term problems have a 250% increased risk of dying found a large 10-year study (file photo)

Lead author Professor Chris Gale from University of Leeds said: ‘Having a long-term health condition, such as heart failure, renal failure or diabetes in addition to a heart attack was significantly associated with a worse clinical outcome.

‘Whilst this was, in part, mediated by missed-opportunities in the delivery of care, evidence from this study suggests that there is a need for new therapeutic interventions to improve survival for patients with heart attack who also have long-term health conditions.’

Key findings 

The team examined data on almost 700,000 heart attacks which occurred over the 10-year period.

They found that 40 per cent of patients had at least one long-term condition and of these 89 per cent did not receive optimal care.

Patients with long-term problems received 2.7 per cent fewer treatments than those without.

This rose to 7.3 per cent fewer in patients with heart failure and 6.1 per cent in patients with kidney failure. These patients were found to have the highest risk of death.

Overall they found that among patients who did not receive optimal care, there was a 2.5-fold increase in the risk of death for patients who had a long-term condition compared to those who did not.

The authors concluded: ‘Patients with a long-term condition are less likely to receive optimal care, and do experience lower survival following acute myocardial infarction.

‘Patients with heart failure and renal failure received the lowest treatment, were more likely to receive sub-optimal treatment, and experienced lower survival.’ 

POOR SLEEPERS TWICE AS LIKELY TO SUFFER HEART ATTACK

People who toss and turn at night are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, a major study suggests.

Scientists said fragmented sleep should be considered an early warning sign of future health problems.

A study of nearly 13,000 people found that people who woke up repeatedly in the night were 99 per cent more likely to suffer from ischaemic heart disease – the medical term for a heart attack or severe angina.

People who took more than half an hour to fall asleep had a 52 per cent increased heart attack risk and 48 per cent increased risk of a stroke.

And those who got less than six hours of sleep a night were 24 per cent more likely to have a heart attack, found a team from Hiroshima University in Japan.

Experts are not sure whether poor sleep actually causes heart problems, or whether people who are ill and already suffering symptoms are simply getting worse sleep.

But either way they warn that having a restless night should be considered a red flag for more serious concerns. 

Extra effort is needed for these patients 

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which part-funded the research, said: ‘It’s important that all patients receive the best possible treatments, regardless of any other conditions they might have.

‘But it’s true that having another long-term condition can complicate things.

‘Choosing the best treatment has to factor in the other medicines that the patient is taking, as well as the potential side-effects. 

‘This sometimes means a person doesn’t necessarily get the most effective treatments, but it still could be the best choice under the circumstances.

‘This study shows that patients with long-term conditions could see substantial benefits if extra effort is put into deciding the best possible treatments. 

‘It also highlights the need for research to develop further treatment options for doctors and more effective medicines for these patients.’

BHF said that someone suffers a heart attack approximately every three minutes in the UK, with nearly 200 people of working age dying every week of a heart attack in Britain.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk