£5 blood test can predict risk of heart attack

 Health  Comments Off on £5 blood test can predict risk of heart attack
Jan 232017

A simple blood test could be used to predict which patients are at risk of heart attack up to 15 years later and determine those who would benefit from statins, according to research.

[pullquote]About seven million people take statins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, yet there is continuing scientific debate about their effectiveness.[/pullquote]

The £5 test, which is currently used to diagnose heart attacks in patients arriving at A&E, has been found to predict accurately the chance of someone suffering an attack in the future.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow claim that the highly sensitive test, which picks up on damage to the heart muscle, is a more effective way of assessing future heart disease risk than blood pressure or cholesterol.

The study of 3,000 men with high cholesterol but no history of heart disease found that changes in troponin blood levels could predict whether a person was at risk of heart attack or dying of coronary heart disease up to 15 years later.
The test measures the levels of proteins in the blood known as troponin T or troponin I, which are released when the heart muscle has been damaged, as occurs in a heart attack.

Coronary heart disease, which causes heart attacks, accounts for nearly 70,000 deaths in the UK each year. About seven million people take statins regularly to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, yet there is continuing scientific debate about their effectiveness.

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggested that measuring levels of troponin in the blood could determine which patients were responding to the statins used to treat them.

Researchers found that patients whose troponin levels decreased after taking statins had lower risk of heart attack later on compared with those whose troponin levels were unchanged or increased, according to the paper.

However, because the study group consisted of middle-aged men with high blood cholesterol, the researchers said that further work was needed to see if the results were the same for women or men with lower cholesterol.

Professor Nicholas Mills, senior clinical research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: “Whilst blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure are important and associated with the risk of developing heart disease, troponin is a direct measure of injury to the heart. Troponin testing will help doctors to identify apparently healthy individuals who have silent heart disease so we can target preventative treatments to those who are likely to benefit most.”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Before the findings from this research can be clinically applied, the usefulness of measuring troponin findings needs to be demonstrated in a wider group of patients. If this confirms its value, the test could easily be administered by GPs during standard check-ups and could ultimately save lives.”

From The Times 20th December 2016

 Posted by at 7:30 am

Thousands of heart patients are missing out on cardiac rehabilitation

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Jan 102017

Thousands of heart patients are missing out on cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack, increasing their risk of suffering a fatal event, according to new figures released today.

Around 66,000 heart patients missed out on cardiac rehabilitation in 2014/15, an effective service to help recovery following a heart attack or procedure.

Despite this shortfall, participation in cardiac rehabilitation has improved in the last decade, with uptake in the UK reaching 50 per cent for the first time last year.

But this is still just half the number of eligible heart patients across the UK, meaning tens of thousands of people are missing out.

Female patients in particular are being left behind and not accessing vital services to improve their chance of recovery and reduce the risk of suffering another heart attack.

New statistics

Statistics published today in the National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR), hosted at University of York, reveal:

  • 66,000 people took part in cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack or procedure, but this is still just half the number of eligible patients
  • More than 20,000 female patients are missing out
  • Half of patients are left waiting too long to start rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack can help achieve better physical and psycho-social outcomes for patients. This year’s audit report found that patients with clinical depression almost halved from 7% to 4% following cardiac rehabilitation, while the number of patients meeting national exercise guidelines increased from 40% to 70% following their programme.

Encouraging more women to take part

In England, around 52% of eligible male patients take part in cardiac rehabilitation compared to 44% of female patients.

It’s recommended that heart attack and angioplasty patients start cardiac rehabilitation within 33 days, but just half of programmes are meeting this target.

We are calling for cardiac rehabilitation services to do more to meet waiting time targets and wants to encourage more female patients to take part.

Dr Mike Knapton, our Associate Medical Director, said: “It is hugely encouraging that more patients are accessing rehabilitation services, but there is still much more to be done.

“Half of heart attack patients are still missing out on this effective service and are at greater risk of suffering a deadly heart attack. There are also delays in patients getting access to care, with half of services failing to meet targets.

“There is variation between services which needs to be ironed out to ensure that every patient has access to cardiac rehabilitation which can reduce their risk of suffering another heart attack.”

The National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR), which we have funded and is hosted at the University of York, combines data from hundreds of rehabilitation centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Cardiac rehabilitation offers physical activity support and lifestyle advice, such as exercise classes and dietary guidance, to help people living with heart disease manage their condition and reduce their risk of associated heart events.

Rehabilitation can help reduce the number of deaths by 18 per cent over the first six to twelve months and can cut readmissions by nearly a third (31%).

Article published by the British Heart Foundation

 Posted by at 7:30 am

Have your say on health changes at Poole drop in session

 Health, News  Comments Off on Have your say on health changes at Poole drop in session
Jan 042017

People living in and around Poole are being invited to an event to give their views on proposed changes to healthcare in Dorset.

The event is part of the ongoing public consultation on proposals that have been developed as part of the Clinical Services Review, a major review into healthcare in Dorset.

The Clinical Services Review was launched as a response to major challenges which the NHS faces in Dorset. This includes a growing population, a workforce shortage, increased demand and a potential funding gap of £158m a year by 2020.

The event will take place at St Mary’s Longfleet Church Centre on Thursday 19 January. There is no need to book a place and anyone wanting to attend is welcome to drop in at any time between 2pm and 8pm.

Staff from the local healthcare community will be on hand to answer questions and direct people to how they can make their views known. Copies of the consultation document – Improving Dorset’s healthcare – and questionnaire will be available to take away.

Anyone who is unable to attend the event can still have their say by picking up a consultation document and questionnaire locally. Copies are available from a range of places including GP practices and hospitals. A full list of where copies can be collected from is available at www.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk along with links to an online version of both the consultation document and questionnaire.

People without internet access can call 01202 541946 to find out where they can pick up a copy locally or request a copy through the post.

There are lots of events happening throughout the consultation and everyone is welcome to attend them.

For the latest information visit www.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk or follow us on social media twitter.com/DorsetCCG or Facebook.com/NHSDorsetCCG.

The public consultation runs up to 28 February 2017.

Further information

Members of the local media are welcome to attend the sessions. Please notify our Communications team prior to event. All interview requests should be directed to the Communications team.

 Posted by at 5:50 pm