Kidney failure patients more likely to die from heart attacks and strokes, British Heart Foundation finds

People who have suffered kidney failure are more likely to also have a heart attack. (Picture: Adobe Stock)People who have suffered kidney failure are more likely to also have a heart attack. (Picture: Adobe Stock)
People who have suffered kidney failure are more likely to also have a heart attack. (Picture: Adobe Stock)
One professor described the dangers as "unacceptably high".

People who have suffered kidney failure are more likely to also have a heart attack, new research has shown.

An analysis of patient data over 20 years by the British Heart Foundation Scotland indicated that people with kidney failure have a higher risk of dying to either cardiac arrest or a stroke. The study, which has been published in the European Heart Journal, also suggested women are at a greater risk than men.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The researchers used anonymous healthcare data from more than 16,000 patients from 1996-2016. Heart attack and stroke rates halved in kidney failure patients over the 20 years and the number of deaths because of them also fell.

David McColgan, head of British Heart Foundation Scotland, which funded the research, said: "The data shows that, compared to other groups, kidney failure patients’ risk of having a heart attack or stroke remains exceptionally high. It is crucial that further research is done to learn more about the link between the two and try to lower this risk."

Professor Bryan Williams, chief scientific and medical officer at the British Heart Foundation, added: "This comprehensive study shows that, despite some improvements in recent decades, kidney failure patients are still at an unacceptably high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and in some cases dying. Over the course of this study, which looks at patient data over 20 years, we have seen great progress in heart attack and stroke prevention and treatment for the wider population.

"But this progress is under threat as premature death rates from heart and circulatory diseases have risen in the UK in the past few years. Against this backdrop, much more focused work needs to be done to ensure that kidney failure patients are not left behind when it comes to heart and circulatory disease care."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As part of the study, researchers concluded that treatments could improve survival rates - treatments which are already commonplace for patients. The research revealed that over 40 per cent of patients who were not prescribed dual anti-platelet drugs died of a heart-related problem within a year whereas the figure dropped to nearly 14 per cent for those who were given the medications.

Anti-platelet drugs are commonly prescribed to the general population after a heart attack or stroke to prevent blood clotting.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.