More than 1000 patients from across the West Midlands have joined the largest ever study on heart failure in Britain’s ethnic minority populations.
The E-Echoes project, which is run by researchers at the University of Birmingham, is the first major study to assess the prevalence of heart failure in South Asian and African Caribbean populations. The results will be used to help improve the planning and delivery of treatments for areas with ethnic minority communities across the UK.
The research is funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust
Heart failure means the heart does not pump enough blood to meet all body’s needs, normally because the heart muscle is damaged. About 3% of the White population have heart failure in the UK but we do not know how common it is amongst black and minority ethnic communities
Dr Paramjit Gill Clinical Senior Lecturer from the University’s Department of Primary Care is leading the research: “To date, these communities have been under-represented in studies, which makes the need for targeted research particularly important.
The data we are getting, will help us understand two things: firstly what the risks are for heart failure amongst these diverse communities in Birmingham, and if there are any patterns in the development of heart failure, which we can pick up.
If we want to make sure that our treatments and services are effective, we need to understand that Birmingham’s diverse ethnic groups will have different needs and different risks of developing certain diseases.”
Patients from across Birmingham are being asked by GP’s to attend a screening session at their local surgery. This involves a brief examination, including a painless echocardiogram and electrocardiogram (ECG). Patients are then asked a series of detailed questions focusing on health and lifestyle.
Qaim Zaidi, Ethnic Strategy Coordinator at the BHF said: “By funding visionary work like this, we can make real, practical progress in helping to treat heart failure patients from ethnic minority communities. The BHF is committed to reducing heart disease in our culturally diverse Britain and with the public’s support we can put a stop to heart disease altogether.”
As well as assisting researchers this detailed screening process has also identified a number of patients who needed urgent medical treatment as Dr Gill explains: ‘In one practice, four people who attended the session were admitted as emergency patients suffering from heart attack. Three of the patients required stents (a device used to hold open a narrowed artery)which shows the value of the screening.
Thanks to the strong support for the study from local communities we believe that the results will provide the kind of detailed information we need to change services for the better.
For more information please contact Ben Hill, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, Tel 0121 4145134, Mob 07789 921 163