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Innovative pilot to identify heart problems in people with diabetes

diabetes Poole Hospital is taking part in a pilot that aims to identify heart problems in people with diabetes.

People who have developed a foot ulcer because of diabetes will receive an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check for problems with their heart due to the possible increased risk of heart problems and premature death. The pilot aims to identify these problems earlier and take action to manage them.

Heart problems are commonly seen in people with diabetic foot ulcers for two main reasons:

  • Diabetes causes may cause narrowing of the blood vessels and damage to the body’s nerves. This narrowing of the blood vessels and nerve damage occur in the feet, causing foot ulcers, but also in the heart, reducing the blood supply and altering the electrical signals. Therefore a foot ulcer may also signal heart damage.
  • Certain medications may at times be risky in patients who have foot ulcers. 

Carrying out a quick and non-invasive ECG helps doctors identify those patients at particular risk, for whom some changes in their medications may be needed, with possible referral to a cardiologist for further investigation.

It is hoped that the pilot will show that ECGs for patients with diabetic foot ulceration can help to gather information that will ultimately save lives.

Dr David Coppini, consultant physician, diabetologist and endocrinologist for Poole Hospital, said: “Carrying out a simple ECG on a patient who has developed a diabetic foot ulcer is a quick and easy way for us to know if they are at increased risk of serious heart problems. I’m very pleased that we are taking part in this important pilot and keen to see the impact the ECGs have on our patients’ health.”

The results of the pilot will be collected and analysed in July 2015, prior to the publication of the findings in a final report.

Date: 14 November 2014

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Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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