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You might not have heard of aortic dissection before (I certainly hadn’t). But the condition takes the lives of around 2,000 Brits a year ― and the NHS and government have just formed a working group that will bring together clinical experts and charities to improve diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Aortic dissection occurs when the wall of a weakened aorta rips, leaking blood into the layers of your arteries. It can happen slowly or suddenly.
“Aortic dissection can be a devastating condition and every year it takes the lives of more people than die on our roads, yet awareness is low. Changing that will save lives,” said Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay.
In fact, “Every year it takes the lives of more people than die on our roads,” he shared. Despite this, awareness is low.
So, we thought we’d share what the NHS working group have planned:
The Health Secretary has asked the trust to report back in six months
“We’ve been pushing hard ― asking tough questions in Parliament, meeting with health ministers, and I’m thrilled to say, we have NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care on board,” Pauline Latham MP, who lost her son to the condition and who co-founded The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust, said.
“This will bring in standardised care, genetic screening, and specialised nurses to not only save lives but improve quality of life for everyone affected by this condition.”
The NHS and governments’ pledges are to monitor and support an aortic dissection toolkit, which has been created by the NHS and is being rolled out to NHS providers; to review the patient experience of those with the condition and identify areas for improvement; to look into the possibilities regarding aortic screening; and to work out the clinical and workplace requirements needed to improve the care of those with the condition.
They intend to speed up diagnosis and improve patient outcomes with their NHS toolkit, and have adjusted 999 and 111′s triage systems to help recognise the symptoms of the condition. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has also published a best-practice guide to improve diagnosis in emergency departments.
Developments in optional genetic screening could also lead to preventative care, the trust hopes.
The Department of Health and Social Care is also funding specific research into aortic dissection through the National Institute for Health and Care Research. And the Health Secretary intends to check in on the progress made by charities, the NHS, and the government in six months’ time.