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Found 121 results
  1. Content Article
    Most research examining the association between blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is does not take sex into account. This research study aimed assess sex-specific associations between blood pressure and CVD mortality.by estimating sex-stratified, multivariable-adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for CVD mortality. The authors found that the association between blood pressure and CVD mortality differed by sex, with increased CVD mortality risk present at lower levels of systolic blood pressure among women, compared with men.
  2. News Article
    The rate at which people are dying early from heart and circulatory diseases has risen to its highest level in more than a decade, figures show. Data analysed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) shows a reverse of previous falling trends when it comes to people dying from heart problems before the age of 75 in England. Since 2020, the premature death rate for cardiovascular disease has risen year-on-year, with the latest figures for 2022 showing it reached 80 per 100,000 people in England in 2022 – the highest rate since 2011 when it was 83. This is the first time there has been a clear reversal in the trend for almost 60 years. Between 2012 and 2019 progress slowed and, from 2020, premature death rates began to clearly rise, the data reveals. Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director at the BHF and a consultant cardiologist, said: “We’re in the grip of the worst heart care crisis in living memory. “Every part of the system providing heart care is damaged, from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery; to crucial research that could give us faster and better treatments. “This is happening at a time when more people are getting sicker and need the NHS more than ever. “I find it tragic that we’ve lost hard-won progress to reduce early death from cardiovascular disease.” Read full story Source: Medscape, 22 January 2024
  3. Content Article
    Andrew Guillaume was admitted to Warwick Hospital on the 6 June 2023. Following a review, it was agreed that the likely diagnosis was severe aortic stenosis requiring an urgent Consultant to Consultant referral to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) cardiology team. However, no referral was made as the Consultant was unable to get through to the switchboard at UHCW, so Mr Guillaume remained at Warwick Hospital. Subsequently his condition worsened and on the 16 June 2023 a plan was made to update the cardiothoracic surgery team at UHCW to expedite his surgery, but again they were unable to reach the team through the switchboard. Mr Guillaume was admitted to the unit on 19 June 2023, but sadly died on 20 June 2023 due to a further sudden deterioration in his condition.
  4. Content Article
    The EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care trial was designed to assist primary care practices in the US in implementing evidence-based practices in cardiovascular care and building capacity for quality improvement. This qualitative study in BMC Primary Care aimed to gain a comprehensive understanding of perspectives from research participants and team members on the value of implementation strategies and factors that influenced the EvidenceNOW initiative in Virginia. Read a simplified research summary: Strategies for implementing large-scale quality improvement in primary care
  5. Content Article
    Two reproductive health conditions common in women, polycystic ovary syndrome and dysmenorrhea, are each associated with increasing cardiovascular disease risk, according to two preliminary studies presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023. 
  6. Content Article
    A survey, carried out by The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust, assessed how Acute Aortic Syndrome is managed across NHS trusts in Great Britain, revealing some significant areas for improvement. The survey showed that the majority of NHS trusts have established policies for managing patients with chest pain, a common symptom of AAS. This demonstrates a good degree of preparedness in identifying and treating cardiovascular issues. However, the survey also found that only about half of the trusts have dedicated teaching on AAS for emergency department staff. Furthermore, there’s a lack of uniform policy for the recognition and treatment of AAS specifically. This absence of standardised guidelines and insufficient educational focus could lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, potentially affecting patient outcomes. Find out more via the link below.
  7. News Article
    A 25-year-old who died from a heart haemorrhage after being diagnosed with a panic attack had been seen by a non-medical school trained physician associate (PA) but not a doctor, it has emerged. Ben Peters, 25, attended the emergency department at Manchester Royal Infirmary on the morning of 11 Nov 2022 with chest pain, arm ache, a sore throat and shortness of breath. While waiting, he endured a “severe episode of vomiting”. Peters was diagnosed with a panic attack and gastric inflammation by the PA and sent home with two medications, after a supervising consultant, who the coroner found never reviewed the patient in person, agreed with the diagnosis. Less than 24 hours later, Peters died from a rare complication of the heart that had resulted in a tear of the heart’s major artery, known as aortic dissection, and led to a fatal haemorrhage. The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust (TADCT) says around 2,000 people in Britain die from the condition each year, which can be “reliably diagnosed or excluded” using a CT scan, but “misdiagnosis affects one-third of patients”. A prevention of future deaths notice issued by Chris Morris, the area coroner for Greater Manchester South, written to Manchester University Foundation Trust, said: “It is a matter of concern that despite the patient’s reported symptoms, in view of his age and extensive family history of cardiac problems, Mr Peters was discharged from the Ambulatory Care Unit without being examined or reviewed in person by a doctor." Read full story Source: The Telegraph, 21 October 2023
  8. Content Article
    The Covid-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on the detection and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors including hypertension. In June 2022, nearly two million fewer people with hypertension were recorded as being treated to target, compared with the previous year. As a result, NHS England commissioned the AHSN Network to deliver a new national Blood Pressure Optimisation (BPO) programme building on its portfolio of work around cardiovascular disease. This report lays out: evidence about the impact of the BPO programme how it has been received by frontline staff how it has been implemented nationally.
  9. News Article
    Women are a third less likely to receive lifesaving treatment for heart attacks due to sexism in medicine, research shows. Research led by the University of Leeds and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) pooled NHS data from previous studies looking at common heart conditions over the past two decades. It investigated how care varied according to age and sex, finding that women were significantly less likely to receive treatment for heart attacks and heart failure. Following the most severe type of heart attack — a Stemi — women were one third less likely to receive a potentially lifesaving diagnostic procedure called a coronary angiogram. Women were significantly more likely to die after being admitted to hospital with a severe heart attack. They were also less likely to be prescribed preventative drugs that can help to protect against future heart attacks, such as statins or beta-blockers. Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director at the BHF and a consultant cardiologist said: “This review adds to existing evidence showing that the odds are stacked against women when it comes to their heart care. Deep-rooted inequalities mean women are underdiagnosed, undertreated, and underserved by today’s healthcare system." “The underrepresentation of women in research could jeopardise the effectiveness of new tests and treatment, posing a threat to women’s health in the long-term,” she added. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 5 October 2023
  10. Content Article
    Aortic valve replacement (AVR) is a life-saving procedure for symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (AS), which relieves symptoms, increases life expectancy and improves quality of life. Little is known about the rate of AVR provision by gender, race or social deprivation level in the NHS across England. However, a large analysis examining AVR on the health service in England – the first of its kind – reveals striking inequalities in its provision. Women, black and Asian people, and those living in the poorest parts of the country are much less likely to receive the life-saving procedure, the study shows. “In this large, national dataset, female gender, black or south Asian ethnicities and high deprivation were associated with significantly reduced odds of receiving AVR in England,” the authors wrote. Dr Clare Appleby, a consultant cardiologist at the Liverpool Heart and Chest hospital NHS foundation trust and an author of the study, said public health initiatives to understand and tackle these inequalities should be prioritised. “Severe symptomatic aortic stenosis is a serious disease that causes mortality and reduces quality of life for patients,” she said. “Left untreated it has a worse prognosis than many common metastatic cancers, with average survival being 50% at two years, and around 20% at five years.” Further research and public health initiatives to understand and address inequalities in the timely provision of AVR are important and should be prioritised in England.
  11. News Article
    The impact of successive doctors’ strikes is now ‘causing significant disruption and risk to patients’, including to those needing urgent heart and cancer treatment, NHS England leaders have told the BMA in their strongest warnings yet. A letter to the union’s council chair on Tuesday evening, leaked to HSJ, said: “We are increasingly concerned that the cumulative impact of this action is causing significant disruption and risk to patients… “We are extremely concerned that Christmas Day cover is insufficient to ensure appropriate levels of patient safety are being maintained across local health systems. This is particularly the case in the current period of industrial action, with three consecutive Christmas Day levels of service.” Although Christmas Day includes cover for emergency care, the officials said that in practice – with demand above Christmas Day levels, and with successive days and repeated strikes – it was not protecting patients needing urgent care. The letter, signed by NHSE leaders including chief medical officer Sir Steve Powis, and chief nurse Dame Ruth May, goes on: “Secondly, we are becoming increasingly concerned that combined periods of industrial action are impacting on our ability to manage individuals who require time-sensitive urgent treatment, for example cardiac, cancer or cardiovascular patients, or women needing urgent caesarean sections.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 3 October 2023
  12. News Article
    In the most deprived areas of England and Scotland, the nearest 24/7 accessible defibrillator is on average a round trip of 1.8 km away—over a mile—according to a pioneering study supported by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The researchers, led by Dr Chris Wilkinson, senior lecturer in cardiology at Hull York Medical School, used data from national defibrillator network The Circuit to calculate the median road distance to a defibrillator with unrestricted public access across Great Britain's 1.7 million postcodes. Among the 78,425 defibrillator locations included, the median distance from the centre of a postcode to a 24/7 public access defibrillator was 726.1 metres – 0.45 miles. In England and Scotland, the more deprived an area was, the farther its average distance from a 24/7-accessible defibrillator – on average 99 metres more in England, and 317 metres farther in Scotland for people living in the most compared with the least deprived areas. There was no link between defibrillator location and deprivation in Wales. The researchers said they hoped the findings, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Amsterdam and published in the journal Heart, would lead to more equal access to defibrillators. They noted that there were over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) annually in the UK; in England nearly 30% happened at weekends, and 40% between 6pm and 6am. Read full story Read research study: Automated external defibrillator location and socioeconomic deprivation in Great Britain (28 August 2023) Source: Medscape, 29 August 2023
  13. Content Article
    This study in the Journal of Medical Virology aimed to assess the extent and the disparity in excess acute myocardial infarction (AMI)-associated mortality during the pandemic, focusing on the outbreak of the Omicron strain. Using data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Vital Statistics System, the authors found that excess death, defined as the difference between the observed and the predicted mortality rates, was most pronounced for the 25–44 years age group. Excess deaths ranged from 23%–34% for the youngest compared to 13%–18% for the oldest age groups. The trend of mortality suggests that age and sex disparities have persisted even through the Omicron surge, with excess AMI-associated mortality being most pronounced in younger-aged adults.
  14. News Article
    GP practices in England will be able to order a host of checks directly to help speed up the diagnosis of a range of heart and respiratory conditions. Traditionally GPs refer to specialists when conditions like heart failure and lung problems are suspected. But the ability to direct refer, which was rolled out for cancer last year, is now being extended. GPs welcomed the move, but questioned whether there was sufficient testing capacity to cope. Royal College of GPs chair Prof Kamila Hawthorne said: "Any initiative to accelerate the process by which patients can be diagnosed and begin to receive any necessary treatment should be seen as positive." She said GPs had "long been calling" for better access to diagnostic tests. But she added: "For this initiative to be successful, it is vital that diagnostic capacity - both in terms of testing and people to conduct and interpret tests - is sufficient." Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 August 2023
  15. News Article
    Heart surgery patients in London have died “unnecessarily” and faced increased risk of death as botched NHS investigations into dozens of deaths reduced a hospital’s ability to treat people, a coroner has warned. “Unnecessary” patient deaths have occurred as a result of heart surgery at St George’s University Hospital Trust being restricted and emergencies diverted to other “over stretched” hospitals, following investigations by national NHS bodies. The warning that deaths have occurred and may occur in the future, comes following the conclusion of a series of inquest hearings in March, during which it was found the NHS’ wrongly blamed a team of cardiac surgeons for the deaths of dozens of patients. Coroner Fiona Wilcox, in a report published on Wednesday, has now said the “inadequate” NHS led investigations, which criticised the care of 67 patients, led to people being put increased risk of death. The NHS’ investigations into the deaths of 67 patients ruled there were “shortcomings” in care. It led to complex operations being diverted elsewhere and doctors being referred to the General Medical Council. Two doctors have sinced been exonerated following GMC hearings. According to the coroner’s findings, capacity within cardiac surgery at the unit is down by 60% and staff are becoming “deskilled.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 May 2022
  16. News Article
    There is no evidence that Covid vaccines have led to an increase in deaths in young people, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. Six months after the mass rollout of Covid vaccines, medical regulators started to report slightly higher rates of two heart conditions after receiving the Pfizer and Moderna jabs. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle itself, while pericarditis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sac the heart sits in. Both side effects are very rare but appear to be more common after a second dose of either Covid jab, particularly in younger men. The ONS looked at outcomes shortly after vaccination, when the risk of any side effect is highest. The chance of a young person dying in that time was no different to later periods the researchers looked at. Julie Stanborough, deputy director at the ONS said: "We have found no evidence of an increased risk of cardiac death in young people following Covid-19 vaccination." Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 March 2022
  17. News Article
    Five months after being infected with the coronavirus, Nicole Murphy’s pulse rate is going berserk. Normally in the 70s, which is ideal, it has been jumping to 160, 170 and sometimes 210 beats per minute even when she is at rest — putting her at risk of a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. No one seems to be able to pinpoint why. She’s only 44, never had heart issues, and when a cardiologist near her hometown of Wellsville, Ohio, USA, ran all of the standard tests, “he literally threw up his hands when he saw the results,” she recalled. Her blood pressure was perfect, there were no signs of clogged arteries, and her heart was expanding and contracting well. Murphy’s boomeranging heart rate is one of a number of mysterious conditions afflicting Americans weeks or months after coronavirus infections that suggest the potential of a looming cardiac crisis. A pivotal study that looked at health records of more than 153,000 U.S. veterans published this month in Nature Medicine found that their risk of cardiovascular disease of all types increased substantially in the year following infection, even when they had mild cases. The population studied was mostly White and male, but the patterns held even when the researchers analyzed women and people of color separately. When experts factor in the heart damage probably suffered by people who put off medical care, more sedentary lifestyles and eating changes, not to mention the stress of the pandemic, they estimate there may be millions of new onset cardiac cases related to the virus, plus a worsening of disease for many already affected. “We are expecting a tidal wave of cardiovascular events in the coming years from direct and indirect causes of covid,” said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, president of the American Heart Association. Read full story (paywalled) Source: Washington Post, 21 February 2022
  18. News Article
    One in 25 people who die of a heart attack in the north-east of England could have survived if the average cardiologist effectiveness was raised to the London level, research shows. The research, undertaken by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), looked at the record of over 500,000 NHS patients in the UK, over 13 years. It highlights the stark “postcode lottery” of how people living in some parts of the country have access to lower quality healthcare. The results found that while cardiologists treating patients in London and the south-east had the best survival rates among heart attack patients, patients being treated in the north-east and east of England had the worst. Among 100 otherwise identical patients, an additional six patients living in the north-east and east of England would have survived for at least a year if they had instead been treated by a similar doctor in London. Furthermore, if the effectiveness of doctors treating heart attacks in these areas of the country were just as effective as the cardiologists in London, an additional 80 people a year in each region would survive a heart attack. The research also revealed a divide between rural and urban areas of England, with patients living in the former typically receiving treatment from less effective doctors compared with those in more urban areas. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 9 August 2022
  19. News Article
    Patients who contract Covid-19 are at increased risk of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disorders and diabetes in the three months following infection, although the risk then declines back to baseline levels, a large UK study has found. Researchers from King’s College London say patients recovering from Covid-19 should be advised to consider measures to reduce diabetes risk including adopting a healthy diet and taking exercise. The GP medical records from more than 428,650 Covid-19 patients were matched with the same number of controls and followed up to January 2022. All patients with pre-existing diabetes or cardiovascular disease were excluded from the study, published in the open access journal PLOS Medicine. According to the analysis, diabetes mellitus diagnoses were increased by 81% in acute covid-19 and remained elevated by 27% from 4 to 12 weeks after infection. Lead study author Emma Rezel-Potts said, “While it is in the first four weeks that covid-19 patients are most at risk of these outcomes, the risk of diabetes mellitus remains increased for at least 12 weeks. Clinical and public health interventions focusing on reducing diabetes risk among those recovering from covid-19 over the longer term may be beneficial.” The researchers said that people without pre-existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes who become infected with covid-19 do not appear to have a long term increase in incidence of these conditions. Read full story Source: BMJ, 22 July 2022
  20. News Article
    Almost 100,000 people with serious heart problems, including some “living on borrowed time”, are enduring long waits for potentially life-saving NHS care because hospitals are so busy. Some of them are in such poor health they will have a heart attack and die as a consequence of facing such “dangerous” long delays, the British Heart Foundation has warned. The number of patients in England being forced to wait more than the supposed maximum 18 weeks for cardiac treatment has trebled since Covid-19 struck, from 32,186 in February 2020 to an unprecedented 96,321, a BHF analysis of published NHS England data shows. They are waiting for procedures such as having a stent or balloon inserted to reopen a blocked artery, a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator fitted, or open heart surgery, including bypasses or valve replacement operations. Others urgently need to have an echocardiogram, CT or MRI scan to help doctors decide on treatment. Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, a consultant cardiologist who is also the BHF’s associate medical director, said: “Cardiac care can’t wait. Without timely treatment, heart patients may be living on borrowed time.” “Tens of thousands of people feel in limbo, waiting many months or even years for cardiac surgery, invasive heart procedures or important diagnostic tests. During this time they could quite quickly become much sicker, and tragically some could even die before they can receive the heart care they so desperately need,” she added. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 June 2022
  21. News Article
    Patients in England are set to benefit from a radical new project that will look to identify innovative new methods of preventing cardiovascular disease, as the Department of Health and Social Care appoints the first ever Government Champion for Personalised Prevention. John Deanfield CBE, a Professor of Cardiology at University College London, has been asked by the health secretary to explore how the potential of technology and data can be properly harnessed to allow people to better look after their health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Professor Deanfield will spearhead a taskforce comprised of experts in everything from policy and technology to economics and behavioural science to deliver a range of recommendations that will lay the foundations for a modern, tailored cardiovascular disease prevention service. The Government say the recommendations will: Identify breakthroughs in predicting, preventing, diagnosing and treating risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Advise on how public services, businesses and the population can be encouraged to support prevention outside the NHS. Use personalised data to predict and manage disease more effectively. Bring care closer to homes and communities by establishing new partnerships that advance the way preventative services are delivered. Evaluate how this strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention may impact conditions with shared risk factors. Read full story Source: NHE, 7 March 2023
  22. News Article
    Wearable fitness and wellness trackers could interfere with some implanted cardiac devices such as pacemakers, according to a study. Devices such as smartwatches, smart rings and smart scales used to monitor fitness-related activities could interfere with the functioning of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) devices, the study published in the Heart Rhythm journal found. Researchers found that the electrical current used in wearable smart gadgets during “bioimpedance sensing” interfered with proper functioning of some implanted cardiac devices from three leading manufacturers. Lead researcher, Dr Benjamin Sanchez Terrones, of the University of Utah. said the results did not convey any immediate or clear risks to patients who wear the trackers. However, the different levels of electrical current emitted by the wearable devices could result in pacing interruptions or unnecessary shocks to the heart. Further research was needed to determine the actual level of risk". “Our research is the first to study devices that employ bioimpedance-sensing technology as well as discover potential interference problems with CIEDs such as CRT devices. We need to test across a broader cohort of devices and in patients with these devices. Collaborative investigation between researchers and industry would be helpful for keeping patients safe,” Sanchez said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 February 2023
  23. News Article
    During the pandemic, nearly half a million people in the UK missed out on starting medication to help prevent heart attacks and strokes, a new study suggests. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) team looked at prescribing data for the first 18 months after Covid hit. Some 491,000 people (27,000 a month) appear to have missed out on blood pressure pills, and 316,000 did not get treatment to lower their cholesterol. The team says more needs to be done to make sure that anyone who needs treatment gets it. During the pandemic, normal NHS services were severely disrupted. For example, there was a reduction in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of high blood pressure, and other heart and circulation disease risk factors. Although the NHS took action, including providing more than 220,000 blood pressure monitors for people to use at home, data shows two million fewer people in England were recorded as having controlled hypertension in 2021 compared to the previous year. Lead investigator Prof Reecha Sofat, who is based at the University of Liverpool, said the findings, published in the journal Nature Medicine, highlight the impact Covid has had on other important health conditions: "Despite the incredible work done by NHS staff, our data show that we're still not identifying people with cardiovascular risk factors at the same rate as we were before the pandemic. " Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 January 2023
  24. News Article
    Artificial intelligence (AI) could be “transformational” in improving heart attack diagnosis to reduce pressure on emergency departments, a new study suggests. Doctors could soon use an algorithm developed using AI to diagnose heart attacks with better speed and accuracy than ever before, the research from the University of Edinburgh indicates. It could also help tackle dangerous inequalities in diagnosing the condition, scientists suggest. Researchers found that, compared to current testing methods, the algorithm called CoDE-ACS was able to rule out a heart attack in more than double the number of patients, with an accuracy of 99.6%. Nicholas Mills, British Heart Foundation (BHF) professor of cardiology at the Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: “For patients with acute chest pain due to a heart attack, early diagnosis and treatment saves lives. “Unfortunately, many conditions cause these common symptoms, and the diagnosis is not always straight forward. “Harnessing data and artificial intelligence to support clinical decisions has enormous potential to improve care for patients and efficiency in our busy emergency departments.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 May 2023
  25. Content Article
    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes 1 in 4 deaths in England, and is a leading cause of morbidity, disability and health inequalities. The Covid-19 pandemic has added to the urgency of tackling CVD because CVD significantly increases the risk of severe disease and death from Covid-19. This report by The King's Fund looks at published data, literature, policy and evidence on CVD. The writers also carried out interviews and a workshop with key stakeholders working in health and care to inform their research.
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