Iron deficiency in heart failure patients contributes to poor outcomes

June 8, 2017

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: June 2017

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Patients admitted with acute heart failure who exhibit iron deficiency (ID) tend to have a longer and more expensive hospital stay and a greater likelihood of readmission, according to analysis of Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) in England presented today at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) conference in Manchester.   The research, which looked at data over three consecutive years, showed that 14 per cent of patients with heart failure also had ID as a secondary diagnosis, and that hospital spells for these patients were significantly more costly than those without ID.

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Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation                


Beta-blockers ‘useless’ for many heart attack patients, study reports

June 8, 2017

Source: NHS Choices – Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: May 2017

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: “Many patients given beta blockers after a heart attack may not benefit from being on the drugs, suggesting they may be being overprescribed,” The Guardian reports.

Beta-blockers are drugs used to regulate the heart by making it beat more slowly and with less force. They are often used in people who have heart failure or are thought to be at risk of heart failure.

A new study has collected data from England and Wales from more than 170,000 people who had a heart attack but did not have heart failure. The researchers wanted to see if beta-blockers improved health outcomes in this set of patients.

The study compared mortality rates between those who were prescribed beta blockers and those who weren’t when they were discharged from hospital. Though there were fewer deaths one year later among people prescribed beta blockers (5% vs. 11%), the researchers concluded that beta blockers did not affect risk of death once other risk factors and medications were taken into consideration.

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Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: NHS Choices – Behind the Headlines                


Ibuprofen linked to increased risk of heart attacks

May 18, 2017

Source: NHS Choices

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Date of publication: May 2017

Publication type:  News item

In a nutshell: Researchers looked at data from 446,763 people and found some evidence that all commonly-used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appear to increase the risk of heart attack, and that the risk rises in the first week of use. The study found the risk was highest with higher doses.

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Acknowledgement:  NHS Choices                


Deadly inherited condition more common than type 1 diabetes in children

March 17, 2017

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: February 2017

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: Approximately one in every 250 people in the UK has familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), a potentially deadly inherited condition which, if undiagnosed, can cause people to die from a heart attack at an early age.

Our figures suggest that FH affects around 250,000 people and is more common than type one diabetes in children, which affects around one in 500 children.

FH causes abnormally high levels of cholesterol in a person’s blood, meaning that otherwise healthy individuals are at a much greater risk of having a heart attack at a young age. Without treatment, people with FH can die prematurely in their 20s, 30s or 40s. Each child of a parent who has FH has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the condition.

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Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


A pattern of brain activity may link stress to heart attacks

February 14, 2017

Source: NHS Choices – Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: January 2017

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell:  “The effect of constant stress on a deep-lying region of the brain explains the increased risk of heart attack, a study in The Lancet suggests,” BBC News reports.

Research suggests that stress stimulates the amygdala. The amygdala is, in evolutionary terms, one of the oldest areas of the brain and has been linked to some of the most primal types of emotion, such as fear and stress. It is thought to be responsible for triggering the classic “fight or flight” response in situations of potential danger.

Researchers in the US, using medical imaging, found that higher levels of activity in the amygdala predicted how likely people were to have a heart attack or stroke.

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Acknowledgement:   NHS Choices – Behind the Headlines


Majority of heart attack programmes failing to meet minimum standards

January 10, 2017

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: January 2017

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell:  More than two-thirds (70%) of heart attack programmes are failing to meet the minimum requirements for patient care, according to our research.

Cardiac rehabilitation services can help heart attack patients recover and reduce their risk of another major heart event. There are hundreds of programmes spread across the UK and the majority are based at hospitals.

The study, published in Open Heart, is the first of its kind and assessed 170 programmes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and found that just 52 met at least five of the six national minimum standards.

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Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Genetic link to dangerous aneurysms could aid future treatment

December 9, 2016

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: November 2016

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Thousands of lives could be saved every year after it was discovered a fatal cardiovascular condition could be linked to four genes, according to Leicester research we helped fund.

A 10-year project, led by Professor Matt Bown, looked at 10,000 people worldwide and found those who had suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) had four genes in common.

It is hoped that the findings, published in the journal Circulation Research, could help doctors understand more about the condition, which can lead to fatal internal bleeding if left untreated.

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Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation