Survival rates for heart attacks and strokes improve dramatically

Increasing numbers of women opting to give birth via Caesarean section, report shows

Since 2008, the 30-day mortality rate for heart attacks after hospital admission has decreased by 42 per cent.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Since 2008, the 30-day mortality rate for heart attacks after hospital admission has decreased by 42 per cent. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The survival rate for heart attacks has improved by more than 40 per cent in the last decade according to the latest statistics from the Department of Health.

Heart attacks or acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs) are one of the leading causes of death in Ireland. By 2020 it is expected that 103,000 people will be at risk of a heart attack as a result of coronary heart disease.

Since 2008, the 30-day mortality rate for heart attacks after hospital admission has decreased by 42 per cent. A decade ago, 9.1 out of every 100 heart attacks resulted in death after admission. This dropped to 5.3 per 100 cases in 2017.

Ireland compared favourable to mortality rates in other developed countries- the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average is 7.5 deaths per 100 admissions, according to 2015 data.

Heart attack mortality rates in Ireland have dropped every year since 2008. However the department noted that mortality rates in one hospital – St Vincent’s in Dublin – remains significantly higher than the national average.

St Vincent’s had a mortality rate of 8.53 per cent in 2017. The best performing hospital was Our Lady’s in Navan, Co Meath, with a 2.12 per cent mortality rate.

The report states a high mortality rate in a particular hospital is not necessarily indicative of poor care practices. It could be explained by several factors such as a local population that is particularly prone to heart disease.

Annual report

The figures are contained in the department’s National Healthcare Quality Reporting System annual report, which was released yesterday.

The system examines 35 performance indicators across the health service including vaccination rates and cancer survival rates.

The report notes with concern that far fewer older people are getting flu vaccines. Between 200 and 500 mainly older people die from flu each winter. The HSE aims to vaccinate 75 per cent of over-65-year-olds against flu each year.

Over the last five years, it has never exceeded 60 per cent and in 2017 this dropped to about 54 per cent. The rate has dropped every year since 2014.

Elsewhere the report states the number of eligible women receiving screenings for cervical cancer under the CervicalCheck programme was 79 per cent, slight under the 80 per cent target.

Controversy

The latest figures relate to 2016 and do not take into account the CervicalCheck misdiagnosis controversy that emerged earlier this year.

Survival rates for ischaemic strokes, the most common type of stroke, have increased by 31 per cent since 2008. Survival rates for haemorrhagic strokes improved 5.3 per cent during the same period.

Increasing numbers of women are opting to give birth via Caesarean section, the report shows. In 2016, 32 out of every 100 births were via Caesarean, a figure that has risen every year since 2007.

“There are many possible reasons suggested by the OECD for these increases including reduced risks associated with Caesarean delivery, increasing litigation, increases in first births among older women, and the rise in multiple births resulting from assisted reproduction,” the report says.