Survival rates for women higher in Scotland

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Young women who have heart attacks are more likely to survive in the north of Great Britain than the south, doctors have found.

Young women who have heart attacks are more likely to survive in the north of Great Britain than the south, doctors have found.

Although heart attacks among young women aged 16 to 44 are rare, they are four times more common in Scotland than in the south of England. But Scots women are almost twice as likely to survive as southerners.

Dr Nick Dunn, of the Drugs Safety Research Unit in Southampton, examined records of 1,000 women under 45 who had heart attacks between 1993 and 1995. The results showed wide variations in the number suffering heart attacks and the number dying.

High rates of heart attacks were found in north and south Wales, south-west England and a belt running from Liverpool to Hull as well as Scotland. But women in the south of England had the lowest survival rates, with the death rate in London twice that in Liverpool.

The authors suggest a possible explanation may be the speed with which ambulances respond to 999 calls. Previous studies have shown that if a heart attack victim has to wait more than eight minutes for an ambulance they are much more likely to die.

During the period of the study in the early 1990s, ambulances in Scotland and Liverpool were quicker to answer emergency calls than those in London. In Scotland, 61 per cent answered the call in eight minutes and in Liverpool the figure was 75 per cent compared with 13 per cent for ambulances in London.

The London ambulance service was the worst in the country at the time but has since undergone a major overhaul, which has markedly improved its response times.

In the UK, someone has a heart attack every two minutes and about half are fatal, leading to the loss of 140,000 lives a year. Between 25 and 30 per cent die before reaching hospital.

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