Patients with advanced heart failure in Scotland will receive more enhanced treatment now that a new strategy has been unveiled.
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, hosted the launch of the Scottish National Advanced Heart Failure Strategy.
The aim of the strategy is to improve the care and treatment provided to heart failure patients.
Enhanced services include increasing the number of heart transplants, providing better access to specialists through outreach plans and ensuring that patients with the most advanced heart failure are given consistent referrals.
The importance of ventricular assist devices has also been highlighted by health secretary Nicola Sturgeon.
The devices support the failing heart by pumping blood around the body. They can be used short or longer term, and are a valuable tool for patients who are waiting for their heart to recover or for a transplant to become available.
They can also be used to support a transplanted heart if it initially fails. It is hoped that once the clinical effectiveness is fully proven, they can be used as “destination” therapy for patients not eligible for a transplant.