A study of 300,000 heart attack patients, led by the University of Leeds, has found rapid increase in PPCI treatment which improves a patient’s chances of survival after a major heart attack.

By Alicia Cannon.

The research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research, showed the increase of heart attack treatment gives nine in ten patients fighting chance of survival.

The use of emergency stenting treatment (PPCI), also known as angioplasty, increased from 0.1% in 2003 to 86% in 2013 for patients with STEMI – a heart attack caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery which accounts for 25-40% of all heart attack cases in Europe.

Despite this, the study found there are vast differences in PPCI use in various hospitals, ranging from a 4-300% increase from 2003 to 2013 showing that opportunities are still being missed due to gross lack of funding. Other factors including the low number of suitably trained cardiologists and an absence of round the clock availability of PPCI in heart attack clinics has helped to explain 50% of the variation between hospitals.

What does PPCI do?

PPCI involves opening a blocked artery to restore blood flow to the oxygen-starved part of the heart and has helped save thousands of lives since becoming available in the early 2000’s and the introduction of PPCI followed a ten-year action plan for heart disease which saw national changes in the way the NHS treats heart attack patients.

This is an exemplar for how proper funding of the NHS can produce life saving results for patients in the UK. Following these disturbing results of the varied PPCI use from hospital to hospital, The Government should now ensure that the NHS has sufficiently resourced heart attack centres providing round the clock care for heart attack patients, to avoid unnecessary loss of life.

The British Heart Foundation continues to fund research to improve heart attack diagnosis and treatment, including a study which could reduce complications from stenting with donations from the public. We can only hope that the Government takes note of the inconsistent use of PPCI across the UK’s hospitals, along with the credible results of this 10 year study, and begin suitably funding clinics to continue treating patients with PPCI and saving lives.

Here at Pattinson & Brewer solicitors, we welcome news of medical advances as we share the aim to improve a patient outcome and ensure safety for everybody during NHS treatment.

Alicia Cannon, Medical Negligence,
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