25 July 2012
Many missing out on basic heart care
Many elderly people are missing out on simple heart treatment which could improve their quality of life. Newcastle University found, in tests on 300 participants, that 25% of 87 to 89 year olds have an undiagnosed heart problem. Drugs are available to treat the conditions, which could save the NHS expensive hospital stays. However, care needs to be taken when prescribing these drugs as, in some cases, the side effects could outweigh the benefits. Scientists have suggested that this is common problem and therefore any person aged over 85 and experiencing breathlessness should be offered a heart scan to help improve these diagnosis rates.
The Department of Health said, “We are currently developing a cardiovascular disease strategy which will consider how we better identify and treat heart diseases for people of all ages, including older people. NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) has recently published a quality standard on heart failure, which defines the best clinical practice for this service.”
Lead researcher Prof Bernard Keavney said, “We were surprised to discover just how many older people have heart problems. Many of these people could be treated with drugs that we know work, if their condition were recognised. This would improve their quality of life and it’s likely to slow their progression to heart failure.”