Most Northern Ireland heart attack survivors not getting rehab, says charity
Over half of heart attack survivors in Northern Ireland are missing out on a potentially life-saving service, a charity has found.
Just 41% of patients accessed cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack or procedure, the British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) said.
It means over 3,000 patients are missing out on cardiac rehabilitation, putting them at risk of suffering another heart attack.
Cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack can help achieve better physical and psycho-social outcomes for patients, the charity said.
Karen McCammon from BHF NI said: "It is worrying that more than half of heart attack patients here are still missing out on this effective service and are more at risk of suffering a deadly heart attack.
"There is also variation between services which needs to be ironed out to ensure that every patient has access to cardiac rehabilitation.
"However, it is very encouraging that the patients who are accessing their cardiac rehabilitation are finding that it significantly improves their health and well-being."
Cardiac rehabilitation offers physical activity support and lifestyle advice, such as exercise classes and dietary guidance, to help people living with heart disease manage their condition and reduce their risk.
Rehabilitation can help reduce the number of deaths by 18% over the first six to 12 months and can cut readmissions by 31%.
The report also found Northern Ireland had the highest rate of patients stopping smoking in the UK following cardiac rehab, with over 300 people quitting.