Heart disease remains one of the biggest health concerns in the UK, with an estimated 7.4 million people in the UK currently living with some form of coronary complaint at the end of 2018.
Around 900,000 of this number are also living with an increased risk of heart failure, whilst it’s interesting to note that men are most commonly affected by this type of condition. For individuals who live with some form of coronary disease, the threat of heart failure remains omni-present and this can occur even when a patient is hospitalised.
Fortunately, modern technology has helped doctors to make huge strides towards minimising the risk of heart failure during treatment, with the number of deaths caused by heart disease having nearly halved in the UK during the last decade. But what exactly are these technologies and how do they work?
What is Heart Failure?
In simple terms, heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
In some instances, your heart is unable to fill with enough blood in the first place, creating a scenario where your medical concerns may be caused or exacerbated by issues elsewhere in the human body.
One of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding the term ‘heart failure’ is that this results in the heart stopping and leads to almost instantaneous death. Instead, it refers to the sustained failure of the heart to pump blood with enough force around the body, and it’s undoubtedly a serious condition that demands urgent medical attention.
According to the most recent statistics, there are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, with the survival rate in these instances less than one in 10. Whilst heart failure can also occur in hospitals both before and after surgery, it’s far rarer and the chances of survival are significantly higher.
How Can Technology Reduce the Risk of Heart Failure During Hospitalisation?
Despite this, the NHS and private healthcare providers remain focused on minimising the risk of heart failure during hospitalisation, with technology playing an integral role in this drive.
There are several manifestations of this, with the use of technology and digitised records to improve patient flow arguably the most fundamental. This can improve the speed, efficiency and quality of care provided to heart patients, and it can make a significant difference both before and after surgery.
Beyond this, practitioners are also using injectable heart-rhythm monitors for patients with coronary disease. The reason for this is simple; as many of the 500,000 patients who experience heart failure in the UK boast abnormal heart rhythms, which can be too fast or too slow and markedly irregular.
Scientists are currently exploring how these heart rhythms impact on patients’ health, whilst also monitoring the link between them and instances of hospitalisation and death.
It’s hope that the insight produced will improve treatment decisions and the efficiency of medical interventions, minimising the risk that patients will experience fatal heart failure during a period of hospitalisation.
With these advancements in mind, it’s clear that healthcare providers are looking to leverage technology and improve the treatment of heart failure at every stage of the patient journey. This can only be a good thing, particularly given the severity of heart failure and its impact on patient lives.