While Heart Disease Will Surge,
Safety in Hospitals Becomes Better

Perfusion.com

By Luc Puis

There is bad news with good news and good news with bad news, just to show that there are always two (or more) sides to a story.

A major study that combined 2013-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data with 2020 U.S. Census outcomes projects that for the period 2025-2060, the prevalence of heart disease and diseases that are risk factors for heart disease will worsen in the USA. 

Millions more people are expected to become burdened with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and obesity, leading to conditions like ischemic heart disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Not a pretty forecast. And while differences between sexes will remain stable, a disproportionate number of Black and Hispanic people will be affected.

That is if everything stays the way it is. An outcry for measures like significant changes in governmental health policies, a better representation of Black and Hispanic medical personnel, and more preventive strategies hope to anticipate this grim future and turn it around. 

The ‘good’ news about this: healthcare workers will not be out of jobs for a while…

It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Because in a different, massive study, researchers have found that the number of adverse events has significantly declined for patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, and major surgical procedures, in the period between 2010 and 2019; as well as for patients with all other conditions between 2012 and 2019. Adverse events were determined in 21 measures across four adverse event domains: 

  • Adverse drug events
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • Adverse events after a procedure
  • General adverse events (hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and falls). 

In other words: it has become a little safer to be hospitalized in the USA. Hooray! Good news! But …

The authors of the study stress that there is still a very long way to go and tha, starting with the NIH’s report, “To Err is Human”, we finally see a demonstrable improvement since  … 1999, when that report was published. While this is a motivational boost for all involved in healthcare, the actual rate of adverse events is still too high, and we need to continue this positive route to aim for even more improvement.

Sources

Mohebi R et al. (2022) Cardiovascular Disease Projections in the United States Based on the 2020 Census Estimates. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Aug 9;80(6):565-578

Lou N (2022) Heart Disease Will Surge Over the Coming Decades – Worsening racial disparities are also projected. Medpage Today

Eldridge N et al. (2022) Trends in Adverse Event Rates in Hospitalized Patients, 2010-2019.

JAMA. 2022 Jul 12;328(2):173-183

AHRQ Public Affairs (2022) Major Study Finds Significant National Patient Safety Improvement. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Hutto E. (2022) Are Patients Safe Enough in Hospitals? – Interview with Harlan Krumholz, MD, on why recent improvements in patient safety still aren’t good enough. Medpage Today

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