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Heart attack treatment "a lottery"

A new report has highlighted wide variations in how patients with heart attacks are treated across England and Wales.

Government guidance recommends that patients receive primary angioplasty - where a small balloon is inserted into the artery and a stent put in place to keep it open and the blood flowing - instead of clot-busting drugs.

While the new figures show a 42% rise in the number of people being given the treatment, this actually only equates to about one in five heart attack patients.

The report, the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP), showed variations between hospitals that provide primary angioplasty, with some treating no or few cases.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director of prevention and care at the British Heart Foundation, said the study showed improvements but called for the regional variations to be addressed.

"This year's MINAP report shows patients suffering a heart attack in England and Wales are receiving high-quality and timely treatment, with significant improvements recorded in the past year," he said.

"However, there are significant variations in the access to treatment across England and Wales and this inequality must be addressed."

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British Heart Foundation