A recent study found that 1 in 4 patients who suffered from a heart attack are likely to develop heart failure within the next four years. The paper was presented on Tuesday in Utrecht, the Netherlands, at the Heart Failure 2016 and the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure. This is the first study of its kind.
The factors, according to the study, that influenced the most in patients with heart failure were older age, greater socioeconomic deprivation , and comorbidities such as diabetes. The most important and frequents ones found in the analyzed patients were older age and diabetes, according to a press release published by EurekAlert.
“Heart failure is a major medical problem with a high chance of hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Johannes Gho, a cardiology resident at the University Medical Center Utrecht. “Patients with ischemic heart disease are at the highest risk. This includes those who have had a myocardial infarction, also called heart attack,” he added.
Dr. Gho explained that the research studying the incidence of heart failure following the heart attack is limited and mainly stems from the thrombolytic era when drugs were used to dissolve blood clots.
Today, Dr. Gho added, the treatment mostly used in heart attacks is percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI, where a stent is used open the blocked artery, which makes a new approach worthy of study at this time. For the data, the team used electronic health records and the incidents this recorded after the heart attack was present.
The electronic data came from the UK‐based CALIBER programme (Cardiovascular research using Linked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records) and the primaries records were linked to the hospital’s admissions. The national data that collects the statistics in heart-related incidents was also an important source of information for the team of researchers.
About 25,000 people were identified in the massive data that had experienced a heart attack between 1998 and 2010 and had no prior history of heart failure. The patients were followed for nearly four years after they become part of the research.
The results were relatively stable, Dr. Gho said, and this could be due to two competing trends. The first is that the treatment for heart attacks has improved so the risk of heart failure would be expected to decline, however, due to the treatment has indeed improved, more patients are alive after the heart attack and subsequently, they suffer heart failure.
The fact that there are more alive patients after a first heart attack showed the efficacy of the improved treatment. This person starts to be part of the statistics when they were not even expected to survive before.
The study does not only offer some insights after the patient has suffered a heart attack, but also highlights the important risk that many people in the current era have. The knowledge gathered in the study could be used to also improve treatments due to an important risk of heart failure in the patient with a recent heart attack.