In response to a study published online by the British Medical Journal online which found that people from areas of social deprivation have significantly worse outcomes following cardiac surgery and concluded that social deprivation independently predicted the risk of dying following cardiac surgery (1), Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said:
“Despite ten years of progress, people from deprived areas still disproportionately shoulder the burden of cardiovascular disease. We should be aiming to reduce the level of deaths across the country to the current level in south east England or below.
“This study highlights the fact that it is not enough to provide heart patients with high quality surgery, we also need excellent pre-operative care and cardiac rehabilitation to address inequalities in health. Cardiac rehabilitation is a lifesaving and cost effective treatment, yet many patients still do not get access to it – a major piece of unfinished business.
“We need a joined up approach from Government and health services. This is why the BHF, alongside 41 other organisations, has drafted recommendations (2) for a new strategic approach to fight cardiovascular disease which looks at prevention, access to services, rehabilitation and end of life care.
“We urge policy makers to use these recommendations, and make heart health inequalities one of their top priorities.”
(1) Issued in response to ‘Social deprivation and prognostic benefits of cardiac surgery: observational study of 44 902 patients from five hospitals over 10 years’ by D. Pagano et al, published online by the British Medical Journal 3 April 2009. BMJ 2009;338:b902 doi:10.1136/bmj.b902
(2) ‘Destination 2020, a vision for change’ published by the Cardio & Vascular Coalition is available here.
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