Significant drop in heart attack deaths in hospitals, audit finds

Hospital mortality rates for pneumonia saw a ‘small but significant reduction’

The report concluded all hospitals had a mortality ratio “within expected ranges” over the course of last year. Photograph: Getty Images

The report concluded all hospitals had a mortality ratio “within expected ranges” over the course of last year. Photograph: Getty Images

 

There has been a significant reduction in deaths from heart attacks in hospitals over the last decade, according to statistics from a health service clinical audit.

The National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA) published a report into hospital mortality rates from six health conditions, drawing on data from 44 publicly funded hospitals.

The report found there had been a “significant” drop in the mortality rate for patients from heart attacks in hospitals of 47 per cent. The rate of in-hospital deaths per 100 admissions fell from 9.3 to 4.9, between 2008 and 2017.

NOCA was established in 2012 to oversee audits of clinical standards across the health service. The body is funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE), but is governed by an independent board.

The report concluded all hospitals had a mortality ratio “within expected ranges” over the course of last year.

It found the rate of hospital deaths from ischaemic stroke, which occurs when an artery in the brain becomes blocked, fell by 28 per cent in the past 10 years.

The report showed a similar reduction of 26 per cent in hospital deaths from heart failure since 2008, from 9.5 ratio points down to seven last year.

There had been no significant change in the mortality rate linked to haemorrhagic stroke (caused by bleeding in or around the brain) in hospitals over the last decade, the report said.

Rates of in-hospital mortality linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is a type of lung disease that causes long-term breathing problems saw no significant drop, it said.

Hospital mortality rates for pneumonia saw a “small but significant reduction” over the 10 years, falling by 17 per cent, from 14.1 points to 11.7.

The audit of in-hospital mortality rates cannot be used to compare performances and standards between hospitals, but can track changes in patterns in individual hospitals.