According to recent research in UK, heart attack patients have a greater risk of dying after leaving the hospital if they miss even one component of their after care.
Researchers from the University of Leeds analyzed links between heart attack survival and nine components of post-discharge care. These included-
- medical appointment for cardiac rehabilitation
- Pre-hospital ECG
- Acute use of aspirin and prescription at hospital discharge of aspirin (to thin the blood and reduce risk of clots)
- Reperfusion (restoring blood flow to the heart)
- Prompt use of four drugs designed to prevent further heart attacks: ACE-inhibitors (to improve blood flow), beta-blockers (to slow the heart), statins (to control cholesterol), angiotensin receptor blockers (to control high blood pressure).
According to Dr. Chris Gayle, there is a clear link between the ability to provide broad and apt care and improved chance of heart attack survival.
Researchers have found that a patient of heart attack has a 46% higher chance of dying within a month and 74% chances of dying within a year of discharge if any one of these steps are missed.
Dr. Chris Gale, an associate professor of Cardiovascular Health Sciences at Leeds and leader of the British Heart Foundation-funded study, says: “The tragedy of all this is that these deaths are avoidable. There is a clear relationship between the ability to provide comprehensive and timely care, and treatment and improved chance of heart attack survival.”
Dr. Gale says that to increase the chances of saving lives, it is imperative for health care professionals to be well versed in these treatments. The guidelines are pretty simple but often ignored and if such components are missed, the chance of dying increases.
In the study Dr. Gale and his colleagues discovered that half of the 31000 patients discharged from the hospital, in England and Wales in between 2007-2010, missed the chance to receive one of these life saving components.
Peter Weissberg, a professor and medical director at the British Heart Foundation, says the study shows how important it is to deliver the whole package of care to heart attack survivors:
“The key message is that someone’s recovery from a heart attack is not solely dependent on any single element of the care pathway. This research shows the importance of ensuring all elements of care for heart attack patients are optimally delivered.”