New heart attack treatment saves 30 lives a year, HSE says

92% of patients will soon be within required 90 minutes of livesaving angioplasty treatment

The Heart Failure Patient Alliance has been formed to provide a voice for the more than 90,000 people with the condition in Ireland. Photograph: Thinkstock

The Heart Failure Patient Alliance has been formed to provide a voice for the more than 90,000 people with the condition in Ireland. Photograph: Thinkstock

 

Up to 30 lives a year are being saved through the introduction of a new treatment for victims of serious heart attacks.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) says services have been improved through the standardisation of treatment across the country so the vast majority of patients receive life-saving treatment with 90 minutes of their heart attack.

Some 92 per cent of patients now receive the “gold-standard” treatment, involving the insertion of a balloon to open a blockage in their coronary artery. This compares with 55 per cent receiving the treatment, known as PPCI or angioplasty, in 2011.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien said changes in the way serious heart attacks were dealt with meant a better service and more life-saving opportunities for patients. The modernised approach put Ireland on a par with the rest of Europe.

Separately, the Heart Failure Patient Alliance has been formed to provide a voice for the more than 90,000 people with the condition in Ireland. The initiative, which hopes to contribute to improved care for patients, is the work of two charities, HeartBeat Trust and Croi.

Almost 1,300 patients were treated in PPCI centres in 2014, according to a report on heart attack care launched by Mr O’Brien on Friday.

PPCI (primary percutaneous coronary intervention) is regarded internationally as the best way of treating major heart attacks, but it needs to be performed as early as possible after a patient experiences symptoms. The procedure also involves the placement of stents to improve blood flow to the heart.

Patients in the north-west will shortly be able to access a PPCI centre across the Border in Altnagelvin in Co Derry. This will bring to 92 per cent the proportion of the population within 90 minutes of a centre.

Prof Kieran Daly, clinical lead of the HSE’s coronary programme, said this rate of access compared favourably with other countries, such as Wales at 72 per cent and England at 97 per cent.