Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Heart Attack Care – Study reports findings on use of Angioplasty

Researchers from Leeds University have carried out a 10 year study on the use of angioplasty (primary percutaneous coronary intervention or PPCI) and have found that while use of this procedure is now widespread, it is most commonly available to patients attending a hospital with a 24 hour, seven days a week service.

The procedure involves inserting a small tube into the groin or forearm which is then threaded through to the coronary arteries of the heart. A balloon at the tip is then inflated and this opens up the arteries to restore blood flow. It is appropriate for patients who have suffered a ST-elevation myocardial infarction (Stemi) which is a heart attack caused by complete blockage of a coronary artery and accounts for 25-40% of European cases of heart attack.

Over the period studied, the number of hospital trusts offering this procedure increased but a key finding was that patients were 30% more likely to receive the procedure in hospitals with more than five interventional cardiologists and 31% more likely in those with more visiting cardiologists. In hospitals running a 24/7 service they were more than twice as likely to receive it.

A key recommendation from The British Heart Foundation following the report is to ensure that patients suffering from a Stemi are taken to a designated heart attack centre which is operational 7 days a week.

Dr Chris Gale of Leeds University said:

Emergency stenting has revolutionised the way we treat heart attack patients and our research highlighted just how far we have come over the past 10 years, with the vast majority of patients now receiving the best care.

However, it’s clear that opportunities are being missed and in some cases treatment is simply not being offered. This is unacceptable and undoubtedly lives are being lost as a result.’

If you or a relative have been suffered a heart condition and have been affected by the issues in this article and wish to seek advice then please contact Marguarita Tyne, partner in our Clinical Negligence team on 0117 3056055 or e-mail on