Problems in caregiving may have exaggerated the extent of the coronavirus pandemic and are thus leading to more people developing heart disease and dying according to the latest report.
The report discovered that before the lockdown happened in the UK, hospital admissions for cardiac failure was rising by a third over the period of 5 years to above 100,000 patients a year. This according to the report could be because opportunities to diagnose these people and subsequently treat them had been missed before they eventually got further sicker and had to be hospitalized.
This report has support from research that discovered that 80 percent of individuals who experience heart failure are handed their diagnoses at the hospital despite 40 percent of these people have been regularly seeing their GP in the past 5 years. These people also had the usual tell-tale symptoms such as exhaustion, breathlessness, and swelling in the ankles but they had not been diagnosed.
People who ended up being diagnosed in the hospital without any prior indication of the disease have a significantly progressed disease and therefore experience worse health outcomes. This means that if their disease was discovered earlier or their risks to develop it, it could save their lives.
Heart failure is a complex condition without a doubt but not one that cannot be diagnosed. In a lot of cases, the disease can be discovered through an echocardiogram and a simple blood test. Both of these methods can be carried out in surgeries by GPs or even in other places in the community. The report highlights this and requests that these methods of discerning heart disease be more accessible to GPs.
The coronavirus pandemic has however exacerbated these issues. Recent data reveals that admissions to hospitals for heart failure diminished by 66% by the end of May in the UK in comparison with the year before.
The number of patients that have taken care and help however is not known specifically due to limited data available if any at all during this time. Health experts however are very concerned that most people who have had heart failure might have been forgotten or not been able to be saved due to a lack of early diagnosis since the start of the pandemic. This only strengthens the argument that health care is fragmented and is often disrupted.
The failure in care practices for heart failure is therefore placing insurmountable health pressure on the NHS with terrible attached outcomes for patients themselves. About half of the patients that are diagnosed with heart failure pass away within 5 years of being diagnosed. The mortality rate due to this, however, differs according to ethnicity, geography, and socioeconomic background which suggests that some opportunities for betterment have been missed.
The issues in providing sufficient care to those with heart issues therefore call for a plan of action to solve them so that the NHS can have less pressure on them during an on-going coronavirus crisis.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani who is a medical director also believes that while there is no specific cure for heart failure, there are treatments that can help people live longer and better qualities of life, therefore early diagnosis of such a condition is necessary.