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Heart-surgery deaths linked to poverty

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Deaths after heart surgery are more likely if patients live in one of England’s most deprived areas, according to a study.

Research at hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham and Blackpool included data from 44,902 patients aged 58 to 71 (average 65) over 10 years.

And the report concludes: ‘Smoking, extremes of BMI and diabetes were strongly associated with social deprivation, but even after we adjusted for these factors, deprivation remained a predictor of reduced survival in hospital and at midterm.’

All patients had undergone heart surgery from 1997 to 2007, and scores reflected factors such as unemployment, car ownership, domestic overcrowding and types of jobs.

The study in the British Medical Journal found that 1,461 patients (3.25%) died in hospital and 5,563 (12.4%) within five years of surgery. Patients included smokers (21%), ex-smokers (48%) never-smokers (30%), diabetes sufferers (16%) and those with high blood pressure (54%).

However, even after all these factors were taken into account, deprivation was independently linked to the risk of dying.

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