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Cardiovascular Health Q1 2024

Embedding innovation to improve CVD diagnosis and treatment

Overweight Black Woman Having A Heart Disease
Overweight Black Woman Having A Heart Disease
iStock / Getty Images Plus / simplehappyart

Nazish Khan

CVD Clinical and Programme Lead, the Health Innovation Network

Learn how innovation in the NHS is helping to tackle cardiovascular disease.

The Health Innovation Network is the innovation arm of the NHS — operating as a collective voice for our 15 local networks, working within local regions to transform healthcare through innovation.

In line with the aims set out in the NHS Long Term plan,1 cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been a key focus for us. We’ve embedded innovative ways of working across the country to increase the detection of high-risk cardiovascular conditions as well as strategies to improve their management.

FH early detection and treatment

Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) has an estimated population prevalence of 1 in 250 in the UK. If left undetected and untreated, 50% of men by the age of 50 and 30% of women by the age of 60 may develop coronary heart disease and suffer a heart attack.2

The early detection programme enables earlier treatment and provision of lifestyle advice for those at risk. Through our FH programme, we’ve expanded access to genetic testing via screening of electronic records to identify adults who are undiagnosed and/or sub-optimally managed.

To increase rates of detection, we’re also piloting an innovative pathway, which will allow for identification of FH in young children and, subsequently, one or both parents as part of the child-parent screening programme.

50% of men by the age of 50 and 30% of
women by the age of 60 may develop coronary
heart disease and suffer a heart attack.

Tailored care management strategy

Hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension are also associated with premature and avoidable adverse cardiovascular outcomes. To support healthcare teams in primary and secondary care, we’ve broadened patient access to innovative lipid management medications, following evidence-based NICE-endorsed guidance for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

Rather than a one-size-fits-all innovation strategy, we tailor each programme to local regions, collaborating with healthcare professionals to ensure alignment with their local needs and priorities.

Supporting future innovation

The Network’s strength lies in our experience in enabling innovation adoption at scale within the NHS. Proven innovations are considered for spread across the Network, as was the case with our atrial fibrillation (AF) programme. AF is the most common cause of an irregular heart rhythm and the cause of 20% of strokes. The national programme helped increase detection of the condition and supported healthcare professionals in offering optimal medication to patients.

We’re supporting over 100 new CVD innovations through our innovation pipeline. These encompass early-phase concepts, products and solutions, which could further improve cardiovascular care. All are at different stages of maturity, and we’re committed to working with our partners so that these innovations can be embedded into the health and social care system, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

[1] NHS Long Term Plan
[2] Family Heart, Public Health England

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