Heart failure care improves

10 August 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

Our Medical Director has today welcomed improvements in heart failure hospital care, but says more work is needed to help people living with this devastating condition.

Fewer people are dying from heart failure following admission to hospital, according to the latest National Heart Failure Audit published today.

The independent report published for NHS England found that the mortality rate for people admitted to hospital with heart failure has dropped from 9.6 per cent to 8.9 per cent since the last audit in 2016. This reduction means that around 500 lives have been saved in the past year, compared to 2014/15.

The report also found that greater numbers of patients were provided with the best possible treatments and access to a specialist.

Nine in ten received an echocardiogram (an ultrasound scan of the heart), while 47 per cent of patients with a less efficient heart were seen by a cardiologist and received the three recommended drugs for the condition. This is up from 45 per cent the year before.

However, the report also makes recommendations for further improvements to close the gap in variations of heart failure care across England and ensure more people receive optimal treatment.

Promising signs of improvement

Responding to the report, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, explained:

“Heart failure blights the lives of more than half a million people across the UK, and in its severest form has a worse prognosis than many cancers. However, providing optimal treatment can help patients lead longer, healthier lives. This audit shows promising signs that the quality of hospital care for heart failure is improving, with fewer people dying as a result.”

“However, we need to build on this progress. It is imperative we continue to close variations in heart failure care across hospitals and ensure more patients receive the best possible treatments. This, alongside research into new treatments, will ensure more people suffering from heart failure live longer, better lives.”

Research key to progress

Welcoming the report, Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director at NHS England, said:

"The NHS is helping more people to survive heart failure. This independent study shows that improvements to NHS heart failure services have had a significant positive impact for people suffering this devastating condition. Increasing numbers of patients are getting specialist help and the full range of treatments thanks to years of world-leading scientific and clinical research and the efforts of NHS staff.

“It is a very significant problem and we recognise that there is scope for even more improvement but the progress highlighted today will be a spur for us to do even more to improve care and survival rates.”

Finding a cure

While improving hospital care will prolong and improve quality of life, there is no way of curing heart failure.

Through our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, we hope to find new ways of reversing the condition within a generation and have already made tremendous progress through research undertaken at our Centres of Regenerative Medicine.

Find out about our research into heart failure