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Heart study shows many suffer poor quality of life

Associate Professor John Beltrame

Associate Professor John Beltrame
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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The world's largest quality of life study of chronic angina patients attending general practice clinics has revealed that almost one in three experience frequent chest pain, which affects their daily life.

The collaborative project between the University of Adelaide and Servier Australia surveyed more than 2000 chronic angina patients throughout Australia and has been published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Lead author Associate Professor John Beltrame says the study showed that 29% of patients experienced angina chest pain at least once a week, despite contemporary treatments which include medications, balloon/stent treatments and bypass surgery.

Angina is a tightness in the chest that typically occurs with exertion and is due to a narrowing of a coronary artery. It can lead to heart attacks.

"More than 60% of patients with chronic angina reported that their angina limited their enjoyment of life," Associate Professor Beltrame says.

"Although quality assurance programs of chronic angina patients examine how well weight, cholesterol and blood pressure are controlled, the one symptom that patients complain about - chest pain - has no defined benchmark."

He says the findings show a new management strategy is required to optimise the treatment of angina and improve the quality of life for these patients.

"This study provides the foundations for establishing such guidelines, allowing closer monitoring of angina control," Associate Professor Beltrame says.

Associate Professor Beltrame is also a Consultant Cardiologist with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Lyell McEwin Hospital and a National Heart Foundation Research Fellow.

The Head of the University of Adelaide's Discipline of General Practice, Professor Nigel Stocks, says the study's findings present a lot of challenges for general practitioners.

"We know that with aggressive lifestyle modification and appropriate medical management, nearly 60% of patients with angina can be pain free after one year. This study highlights the importance of GPs closely monitoring their patients with chronic angina and encouraging them to report recurring chest pain," he says.

The study was unconditionally funded by Servier Australia, a subsidiary of the leading French research-based pharmaceutical entity, specialising in ethical pharmaceuticals.

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