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Big rise in heart attack survivors

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The number of heart attack patients who are surviving their ordeal has dramatically increased in the last four decades, figures show.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said there has been a “remarkable” turnaround after data showed that 70% of women and 68% of men in England are now surviving heart attacks.

While figures from before 2002 are not directly comparable, a sample study from Oxfordshire in the 1970s showed that two thirds of men and women aged 65-69 died from their heart attacks, the charity said.

However, the charity warned that fewer heart attack deaths should not mask the “devastating burden” that heart failure is placing on the UK.

Heart failure occurs when so much heart muscle is damaged by the heart attack that the heart cannot pump blood around the body as well as it should. Three quarters of people with severe heart failure will not live beyond five years.

The charity has today launched its Mending Broken Hearts appeal to raise money for research into the condition, which affects 750,000 people in the UK.

“We’re undergoing an unprecedented period of change when it comes to the heart health of the nation,” said Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF.

“It’s pleasing that decades of British Heart Foundation-funded research has contributed to the dramatic fall in heart attack deaths over recent years. But that means more and more people are surviving heart attacks with damaged hearts and there is now an urgent need to find ways of reversing that damage.

“Our scientists are making great strides in this fight against heart failure but success will require much more money and much more research to ensure that momentum is not lost”.


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