It is reported that around one sixth of deaths related to heart attacks in England are a result of doctors misdiagnosing and failing to identify possible life-threatening symptoms, according to recent research.
Findings from this major study that included around 136,000 cases of severe heart attacks between the years of 2006 and 2010 are indicative of patients passing due to misidentification of warning signals, say the Press Association.
Recognized symptoms of heart attacks include a suddent pain in the chest, or a crushing sensation which may spread across the arms. Patients are also known to experience sudden nausea and shortness of breathing. Some attacks, however, may have easily-overlooked, more subtle symptoms.
The head scientist of the study, Dr.Perviz Asaria, hailing from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health stated: “Doctors are very good at treating heart attacks when they are the main cause of admission, but we don’t do very well treating secondary heart attacks or at picking up subtle signs which might point to a heart attack death in the near future.
“Unfortunately, in the four weeks following a hospital stay, nearly as many heart attack deaths occur in people for whom heart attack is not recorded as a primary cause, as occur after an admission for heart attack.”
A co-author, one Professor Majid Ezzati, who is also a researcher at Imperial’s School of Public Health, stated: “We cannot yet say why these signs are being missed, which is why more detailed research must be conducted to make recommendations for change.
“This might include updated guidance for healthcare professionals, changes in clinical culture, or allowing doctors more time to examine patients and look at their previous records.
“What we are now asking is, if symptoms are being missed where they could have been discovered using the available information, how should care now be organized and what changes need to be made to prevent unnecessary deaths.”