Angina Plan reduces attacks by 40%

Patients on new Angina Plan report 40% reduction in angina attacks per week

New research published in the British Journal of General Practice revealed that patients on the York Angina Plan, compared to those receiving a conventional educational session, reported a 40% reduction in the number of episodes of angina per week (a reduction of three from the baseline mean of seven attacks). This was despite the fact that they were more active. They also showed a lower level of anxiety and depression six months later.

The research team, which included Roger Boyle who is now the Government Heart Tzar was led by Professor Bob Lewin, Professor of Rehabilitation at the University of York. Professor Lewin commented, “Helping patients to manage their angina better and be more active and less anxious and depressed is important in its own right. In doing these things, the York Angina Plan may also contribute to lowering the financial burden cardiac patients place on the NHS.” He continued, “Studies have shown that anxious or depressed cardiac patients accrue four times the hospitalisation costs of non-distressed patients and that medical costs are 41% higher in depressed versus non-depressed cardiac patients.”

There are approximately 1.5 million patients with angina in the UK, many of whom report a poor quality of life including raised levels of anxiety and depression as a result of their condition. The recent National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease has called for rehabilitation to be made available to all patients with heart disease but present cardiac rehabilitation is mostly provided in hospitals, whereas the majority of angina patients are being managed in GP surgeries.

The York Angina Plan is designed for use in GP surgeries immediately following a diagnosis of angina. It consists of a patient held workbook, diary and an audiotaped relaxation programme, which is introduced to the patient during a 30-40 minute structured interview by, in most cases, the practice nurse. Any misconceptions patients may have about angina are identified and discussed to correct their understanding of the illness and to explain how these beliefs can lead to unnecessary rest and withdrawal from normal life.

The practice nurse then works with the patient to identify their personal risk factors for coronary heart disease and to identify realistic ways of reducing these such as increasing activity levels and introducing lifestyle changes, such as improvement in diet and capacity for exercise. The York Angina Plan also includes information on what to do in the event of a heart attack.

You can obtain more information on the York Angina Plan on www.anginaplan.org.uk or by contacting Professor Bob Lewin on 01904 434106/07900 211677 or Mrs Gill Furze on 01904 434128, at the University of York.

The York Angina Plan is funded by a research grant from Pfizer Limited.

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