Plans to Prevent Heart Disease

By: Chris Marshall

New plans have been unveiled to try and prevent heart disease which in turn could save over 7,000 lives over the next five years. Health professionals in Scotland also hope to prevent 27,000 heart attacks and other "cardiac events" by adopting a new approach.

The plan will provide preventative treatment for around 500,000 people, including risk assessments for all over-40s, in an attempt to stop those most at risk from developing heart disease. It also recommends that more people should be given statin drugs to reduce cholesterol. The plan has been drawn up by Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (Sign), which draws up guidelines for the NHS. The guidelines also recommend that, for the first time, doctors should take into account social status when deciding whether people need treatment to prevent heart disease.

It is expected that 50% of men in Scotland and 20% of women over the age of 40 could be prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins. As well as being provided with risk assessment and treatment, those with the highest risk of developing heart disease would be given lifestyle advice.

Patients with the most serious type of heart attack should be admitted to regional centres to have the blood clots and narrowed arteries removed and replaced with a device to keep the arteries open. If this is not possible within 90 minutes of diagnosis, they should rapidly receive the most effective clot-busting drugs. For those that are at risk of less severe heart attacks should receive early heart X-rays and be assessed for possible surgery. The guidelines also say that more patients with heart problems should be given implantable defibrillators to reduce the risk of sudden death and discharge arrangements for hospital patients with heart failure should be improved.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Keith Fox of Sign said: "These guidelines bring together the most robust and up-to-date scientific evidence and the very best clinical expertise to detail how we can save thousands of people from developing and suffering the complications of heart disease.

"The result will be thousands of deaths avoided and tens of thousands of people whose lives will not be blighted by heart attacks, angina, heart failure, heart rhythm disorders and other complications that impair quality of life."

Last year coronary heart disease (CHD) killed more than 10,000 people in Scotland alone. Deaths have fallen by 30% in the last 10 years due to previous Sign guidelines and it is hoped that these new guidelines will go some way to saving even more lives.

Heart Conditions
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Heart Conditions
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles