A study has found that 3,300 patients are needlessly dying every year because the NHS is failing to follow heart attack guidelines.

A team of researchers studied 389,057 cases of non-ST elevation myocardial infarctions (NSTEMI) in England and Wales between 2003 and 2013.

An NSTEMI is the most common type of heart attack, and is when the blood supply to the heart is partially blocked, rather than entirely cut off.

According to NHS guidelines, a patient who has had an NSTEMI should be offered certain treatment to decrease the risk of future heart attacks.

This can include prescribing statins, anti-coagulants, smoking cessation advice and encouraging exercise.

“Suboptimal care”

But the study found that nearly 87% of patients did not receive any of the interventions recommended in the guidelines.

The study concludes that as a result, the NHS is missing opportunities to prevent nearly 3,300 heart attack deaths per year, amounting to about 30,000 deaths over the past decade.

Chris Gale, an Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Health Sciences, led the research. He said: “What we’ve highlighted here is the unacceptable deficit in the care being given to people after they’ve had an NSTEMI heart attack.”

“We estimate that roughly one patient per month per hospital in England and Wales is losing their life as a direct consequence of this deficit. Simple interventions, such as prescribing statins, are being missed and this is resulting in loss of life.”

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows that many people in the UK are receiving suboptimal care after a heart attack and that lives are being lost as a consequence.”

Heart attack claims

If you would like to speak to a solicitor about the medical care you or your loved one received, please get in touch with us at Glynns Solicitors.

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