Heart failure is estimated to affect approximately 350,000 Australians, a number that is rising as the population ages. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, chest pain and palpitations. Despite significant advances in treatments in recent years, clinical outcomes remain poor.
This study explained below is the first ever snapshot of heart failure patients in NSW and the ACT, revealing a treatment shortfall paving the way for more effective strategies to manage disease.
The research included more than 800 patients admitted to 24 public hospitals in NSW and the ACT over one mid-winter month identified an under-use of the prescription medications typically used to manage heart failure.
Researcher Dr Phillip Newton, of the Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care at the University of Technology Sydney, said there were several possible explanations for the lower take-up of treatments, all of which emphasised a need for more effective disease management.
Legitimate reasons not to take to the medication include patients responding poorly to them in the past, or not at all, or other clinical reasons that mean patients are recommended a different treatment solution.
What the data does suggest though, said Dr Newton, is that the use of “evidence-based therapies can be improved.”
The researchers found that only just over half the patients surveyed were referred to a multi-disciplinary heart failure service after they were discharged from hospital.
They said that this study provides NSW Health with the evidence it needs to develop strategies that are more responsive to improving access and increasing the uptake of evidence-based care. The ultimate goal is to improve the lives of heart failure patients.
Read more here: University of Technology.