Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy
The new Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Outcomes Strategy document benefits from considerable input from Arrhythmia Alliance and other groups. More detail is still required to ensure deaths from sudden cardiac arrest are reduced, and to detect and manage AF effectively to prevent stroke.
Arrhythmia Alliance welcomes the strong focus on arrhythmias in the CVD Outcomes Strategy from the Department of Health, particularly as the UK has long been the ‘sick man of Europe’, lagging far behind other countries on arrhythmia care. German patients are three times as likely to receive the life-saving cardiac rhythm treatment they need (ICDs) than comparable patients in the UK.
Trudie Lobban MBE, Arrhythmia Alliance Chief Executive, said, “We welcome today’s publication of the Strategy, in particular we welcome the focus on tackling sudden cardiac death and the provision of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the community. We will aim to work with the NHS Commissioning Board to ensure that the people have access to AEDs in the event of a cardiac arrest, and to ensure that there is a national AED registration and mapping initiative (such as AED Locator) to track the location, status and maintenance of vital life-saving equipment.
“However, today’s Strategy does not go far enough in tackling deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. Many of those that die would have been saved by a simple ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator). The UK is still the sick man of Europe in providing life-saving devices. Latest research shows that the UK is lagging third from the bottom in a table of Western European ICD use with the UK implanting 70 life-saving devices per million people, while Germany implants 200 per million. There is also a wide variation in ICD use across the UK; with patients in North London twice as likely to receive an implant (113 per million) than those in Lancashire and Cumbria (42 per million).
“The Strategy also requires greater detail on how the diagnosis and management of AF will be improved to prevent deaths and disability from AF-related stroke. It is encouraging to see AF mentioned in the Strategy but given the huge under-diagnosis and under-treatment of AF patients at risk of deadly and debilitating strokes, an opportunity to save many thousands of lives need to be seized with clear direction and government support.”
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the strategy during the consultation period.