According to a national audit in the United Kingdom published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the number of new referrals for pulmonary hypertension (PH) patients increased from 1,789 to 2,159, an increase of 21 percent between 2010 – 2015.
The National Pulmonary Hypertension Audit – 2015 was prepared together with the HSCIC, the National Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA U.K.), the National Pulmonary Hypertension Centers of the United Kingdom, and others. It was a nationwide study on the eight specialized PH centers in the U.K. to describe clinical practice, provide future service planning information, and measure clinical outcomes.
According to a press release, besides the increase in the number of new referrals, a quick look at some statistics on March 31, 2015, showed a 56% increase in the number of patients that were being treated at specialist PH centers, reaching a total of 6,671. In 2010, when the first audit took place, there were 4,287 patients being treated.
The five-year survival rate was also analyzed, and it varied from a median of four years and 213 days to two years and 13 days, depending on the specific type of PH diagnosed. For idiopathic, heritable or anorexigen induced hypertension, the median survival was four years and 104 days; left heart disease was four years and 213 days; lung disease was two years and 13 days; and connective tissue disease was three years and 335 days.
The 2015 audit also showed:
- The number of patients who had their first consultation or were discharged within 30 days was 43 percent (855), while 89 percent (1,470) of the patients were managed in 90 days;
- The rate per million PH population (all-inclusive) who were referred to a specialist center in Great Britain was 82, which shows the rarity of the condition; and
- The median age of patients who were treated with PH drug therapies in Great Britain was 59.
“Today’s report shows that despite pulmonary hypertension being a rare disease, the number of new referrals for treatment is steadily rising. The report also shows that specialist pulmonary hypertension centers are also having to deal with an increasing number of patients who need specialist treatments, reflecting an ever-increasing awareness of pulmonary hypertension,” said Simon Gibbs, the audit lead clinician.
“I hope that the information contained within this report will be useful to all eight specialist hypertension centers and commissioners to help plan services that meet the needs of patients over the next 12 months. It should also help patients themselves, providing them with useful information about the clinical services available.”
PH is a condition that raises blood pressure within the pulmonary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the lungs. PH can damage the right side of the heart, making the muscle less efficient at pumping blood throughout the body, and compromising oxygen delivery to the muscles.