What do patients receiving optimal medical therapy after a heart attack die from?

August 30, 2011, European Society of Cardiology

Because of improved management at the acute stage, the risk of dying in hospital after a heart attack has decreased by about 50% in the past 10 years. Likewise, the prescription of recommended medications when patients leave hospital, has resulted in improved survival and fewer recurrent heart attacks. One of the challenges is now to try and further decrease long-term mortality in patients who leave the hospital on "optimal" medical therapy (i.e. who are prescribed all the recommended medications).

The French registry of Acute ST-elevation and non-ST-elevation (FAST-MI) is a nationwide survey of patients hospitalised for in France at the end of 2005, during a one-month period. Patients included will be followed for a period of 10 years after the initial heart attack. At three years, fewer than 5% of the patients have been lost to follow-up.

Of a population of 3,670 patients included in the registry, 3,262 survived the initial hospitalization and had a complete prescription at discharge available. Among them, 1586 (49%) received optimal treatment (OMT).

Three-year survival was 88% in optimally treated patients, compared with 77.5% in those who did not receive all recommended medications. After taking into account the initial profile of the patients and the severity of the heart attack, there was an 18% reduction in the risk of dying in patients receiving optimal .

Analysis of the factors related with 3-year mortality in patients who received optimal treatment showed that the risk of death was related to older age (> 75 years), severity of the (larger infarction, more extensive disease of the coronary artery), associated conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, stroke, cancer or persistent smoking; in contrast, patients who had had a during the initial hospitalization had a markedly reduced risk of dying.

These findings suggest that there is still room for improvement in patients who receive the best possible medical treatment; of these patients, 12% still die during the 3 years that follow the initial .

A broader use of coronary angiography and myocardial revascularization during the initial hospitalisation is likely to have a favorable influence on long-term outcomes. In addition, additional efforts are needed and should concentrate on better management of larger infarctions to prevent and treat heart failure, and on associated conditions such as diabetes. Persistent smoking should also be fought relentlessly.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.