Drugs given to high-risk heart patients in Scotland are 'unsuitable'

29 September 2011

Cardiac surgery patients in Scotland may be more likely to have a stroke as many are not receiving the correct drugs, a report has found.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland found that 53 per cent of patients with atrial fibrillation who are at high risk of developing stroke were not and that lower-risk patients were being given powerful medication when aspirin would do.

The report, which analyses the cardiac services in Scotland, raised many concerns including issues with treatments prescribed to people with atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder with a high risk of stroke.

Findings were deemed as the most comprehensive picture yet of Scotland's heart services by Dr Martin Denvir, clinical lead for the heart disease improvement programme at the scrutiny body.

Andy Carver from the British Heart Foundation added: "It is an important step in improving the accountability of NHS boards for the delivery of vital services for heart patients.

"We will continue to watch closely and help ensure that these standards are implemented."

Atrial fibrillation is not in itself generally considered immediately life-threatening but people who suffer with it usually have a significantly increased risk of stroke. Symptoms include palpitations, fainting and chest pain.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Denvir, Martin, "Healthcare Improvement Scotland - Workforce Strategy 2011-2014", Healthcare Improvement Scotland, September 27th 2011.


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