Dr Jaydeep Sarma: Reducing cardiovascular disease in Greater Manchester – a Cardiologist’s perspective

Digital heart

The NHS Long Term Plan has highlighted cardiovascular disease (CVD) as the largest area where the NHS can save significant numbers of lives over the next ten years. This is particularly relevant for Greater Manchester, where the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is disproportionately higher than the rest of the country.

Dr Jaydeep Sarma works as a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist in Greater Manchester. He sees on a daily basis the devastating effect CVD can have on his patients. In this blog, Jaydeep provides a secondary care perspective on the importance of identifying populations at high risk of CVD, and how healthcare professionals are working together to reduce CVD incidence in Greater Manchester.

The Challenge

As a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, I see first-hand how CVD can cause catastrophic changes to people’s lives. This can include significant debilitation, loss of independence, and ultimately heart failure.

There are a number of risk factors that contribute to CVD. These include ‘high-risk’ conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. There are genetic factors, including whether you have a family history of heart disease, or are from a black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) background. There are also lifestyle factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet.

The Solution

We need to identify high-risk individuals early on and reduce their risk of CVD, before they have critical and potentially life-threatening CVD events.

One risk factor we’re focusing on is identifying individuals with high cholesterol levels. We know that reducing cholesterol translates into fewer heart attacks. We are also starting to realise that significant further reductions in cholesterol will translate into benefits for long term cardiovascular health. So as well as identifying at-risk individuals with high cholesterol levels, we also are working to improve access to novel treatments to reduce the likelihood of patients suffering another CVD event.

We’ve been really pleased so far to see increasing numbers of colleagues who are prescribing more advanced lipid-lowering therapies. However, a lot of healthcare professionals in primary and secondary care have little awareness around modern lipid management. We need to increase awareness and understanding, and make sure that channels for access, referral and initiation of therapy are visible and easy to access.

As the infrastructure improves, we can start to use more primary care and community settings to offer easier access for these novel treatments. As we develop the infrastructure in primary care, we can potentially use our cardiac rehabilitation programme for patients who have suffered a CVD event to carry out more targeted healthcare, including lipid checks and delivery of additional lipid therapies.

The Benefit

In the long term, if you’re less likely to have a heart attack, you’re more likely to be in a fit condition to work and contribute to your community. There’s more certainty about the ability to look forward to a better quality of life and hopefully a lower risk of future life-threatening events.

From a secondary care perspective, the lipid management programme in Greater Manchester will hopefully reduce the number of patients that we see coming back with further progressive coronary artery disease. From our point of view, it’s about reducing the number of people who come back with further heart attacks and strokes, improving survival and reducing the risk of future heart failure.

Read more about how Health Innovation Manchester is supporting the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease across Greater Manchester.

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