Feature | January 30, 2014

PCI Treatment for Heart Attacks Increasing in UK

Percuntaneous Coronary Intervention PCI Cath Lab Stents Clinical Trial Study
January 30, 2014 — Expanded use of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is seeing more patients with acute coronary syndromes treated more quickly, according to the latest National Audit of PCI (covering 2012).
PCI mechanically improves blood flow to the heart using stents and can be used to relieve the symptoms of angina, prevent and treat heart attacks. 
Commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme, the National Audit of PCI is clinically led by the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society and managed by the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research.
Key findings include:
  • The number of PCIs performed in the UK has more than doubled over the last decade. In 2002, 44,913 PCI procedures were performed compared to over 92,000 performed in 2012. This has been achieved by an expansion of both the number of PCI centers and activity within existing centers.
  • Primary PCI is now the preferred treatment for heart attack patients instead of traditional 'clot busting' drugs. The percentage of patients receiving it has more than doubled since 2006.
  • There has been a year-on-year improvement in treating patients within target times. In 2012 86 percent of all patients were treated within 150 minutes of calling for professional help and 90 percent treated within 90 minutes of arriving at the PCI center. This compares very favorably with international data.
  • Patients who need to be transferred between hospitals for primary PCI had longer delays to treatment than patients admitted directly to a PCI center. Transfers delayed treatment by about 40 minutes.
  • There has been a continued increase in the use of the radial artery instead of the femoral for access, and this may be one of the factors responsible for driving down complication rates.
Whilst overall access to PCI and primary PCI has improved, there remain large differences between the countries of the United Kingdom.
For overall PCI rates per million population (pmp), Wales has the lowest rates at 1,363 pmp and Northern Ireland the highest at 1,917 pmp. The PCI activity for England is 1,423 pmp. For primary PCI, England had the highest rates at 390 pmp and Northern Ireland the lowest at 180 pmp. Steps have been taken to increase provision in each of the countries. The most noticeable differences were in Wales where rates of primary PCI increased by over 70 percent.
The report collected data on 92,445 PCI procedures from 97 NHS PCI centers and seven private hospitals between January and December 2012.
For more information: www.ucl.ac.uk

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