Evidence
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Heart surgery in young children: routine monitoring of complications can help assess the quality of care

The vast majority of young children undergoing heart surgery survive the procedure; the survival rate is 98%. This means that the current practice of monitoring survival alone is a blunt measure that does not give a full picture of childrens’ recovery. New research suggests that complications may be a better indicator of the quality of ...

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People in the most deprived groups were least likely to take part in the exercise referral scheme, study finds

Exercise referral schemes are designed for people with long term conditions that can be improved by exercise, such as raised blood pressure or mental health problems. They aim to encourage people to become more active, but evidence for the success of such schemes is mixed. This study evaluated the Welsh National Exercise Referral Scheme and ...

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Aspirin could reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in people with pneumonia, research suggests

People with pneumonia are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke. New research suggests that taking aspirin may reduce the risk of these cardiovascular events. Pneumonia is swelling (inflammation) of the tissue in one or both lungs. It is usually caused by bacterial infection but can also be caused by viruses, including ...

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Spironolactone is not an effective treatment for one type of irregular heartbeat, research shows

People with one type of irregular heartbeat (called atrial fibrillation) do not benefit from a drug called spironolactone. A new trial called IMPRESS-AF found that the drug does not offer benefits and could even be harmful. Spironolactone offered no improvements in exercise capacity, heart function, or quality of life. In fact, the treatment significantly worsened ...

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Male prisoners develop unhealthy hearts at younger ages than people on the outside

The risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is higher among male prisoners than among men of the same age who live in the community. CVD affects the heart and blood vessels and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The largest European study of the heart health of prisoners found that more than one in ...

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Cycling to work lowers risk of illness and death compared to driving

People who cycle to work are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and death than those who drive. This is seen across all occupational groups and suggests that cycling to work could benefit people from all economic backgrounds. The UK government has advised against using public transport during the coronavirus pandemic. This could result ...

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New research supports the move to raise the blood pressure target for frail older people

Frail older people may not benefit from the same tight blood pressure control that has been shown to benefit relatively younger, healthier groups in existing trials. The medical records of more than 400,000 patients in primary care were reviewed. The researchers found that lower than normal blood pressures were associated with a higher death rate ...

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Decision aids quickly and accurately rule out heart attack for almost half of all patients tested

Decision aids provided immediate reassurance to almost half of all patients arriving at emergency departments with a suspected heart attack. Use of the aids, which are based on a single blood test, accurately ruled out heart attacks in patients with relevant symptoms. Aids could provide early reassurance for worried patients and families and avoid many ...

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A lifestyle change programme not effective for those at risk of heart disease or stroke

A package of extra support, including motivational interviewing, did not add value in terms of boosting weight loss or physical activity in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease, a new study has found. This NIHR-funded trial recruited 1,220 people deemed at high risk of heart disease or stroke. Researchers compared the clinical and cost-effectiveness ...

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NHS health check attendance improves with changes to the invitation letter

Invitation letters improve uptake when they address common concerns and reasons for not attending the free NHS Health Checks. People are invited to attend a check every five years between 40 and 74 years, but uptake has been low. This trial of 6,313 patients from six general practices in Northampton found that presenting reasons for non-attendance ...

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