Delays in heart failure diagnosis can be very dangerous to health

In a new study, researchers found that delays in heart failure diagnosis lead to much worse health outcomes.

This is especially true in chronically ill people.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of Leicester.

Heart failure is a complex condition to diagnose. More people are being diagnosed in the hospital with heart failure than in the community because vital heart failure symptoms are being missed.

This is because people whose hearts are failing are normally ill with other chronic and complex conditions, heart failure symptoms may be overlooked easily.

In the study, the team looked at data collected across a 20-year period and found that over 70% of people are not being diagnosed with major heart problems until they become so unwell that they need to be admitted to hospital.

In addition, hospitalization rates, following a heart failure diagnosis, have increased by 30% over the last two decade.

The team also found the mortality risk among people with heart failure has only dropped by three percent in 20 years.

Prior to 1998, mortality risk in the first year after diagnosis was at 32%, but according to numbers recorded until 2017, that has dipped only slightly to 29%.

The death risk reduction over the past 20 years was slower in women than for men, and hospitalization rates also increased much faster for women than for men.

The team says delays in heart failure diagnosis could mean outcomes are far worse for those people who are diagnosed in hospital compared to those whose heart problems are picked up by their family doctor and treated earlier.

It is important to develop tailored public health prevention approaches and to start effective planning of health services early in primary care.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Claire Lawson, Nurse Lecturer and Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow from the Leicester Diabetes Centre.

The study is published in The Lancet Public Health.

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