Recurrent Heart Attacks Down, but Remain High Overall

A new analysis suggests that the proportion of patients who survive a heart and go on to have a second heart attack has decreased (particularly in women) within the last decade.

Researchers for the analysis used data from more than 770,000 U.S. women and 700,000 U.S. men < 65 years of age who had a myocardial infarction (MI) hospitalization between 2008 and 2017. The authors followed the participants for recurrent MI, current coronary heart disease events (such as recurrent MI or coronary revascularization), heart failure hospitalization, and all-cause mortality for one year post-initial MI.

According to the study results, the age-standardized rate of recurrent MI per 1,000 person-years decreased from 89.2 to 72.3 in women and from 94.2 to 81.3 in men (P for interaction by sex<0.001). They also reported that recurrent rates of coronary heart disease events also decreased from 166.3 to 133.3 in women and from 198.1 to 176.8 in men (P for interaction<0.001). Individual components of the coronary heart disease events also decreased (heart failure hospitalization from 177.4 to 158.1 in women and 162.9 to 156.1 in men [P for interaction=0.001]), although the decrease in all-cause mortality did not reach statistical significance.

“We expected to see a decline in the rate of events, however, we did not expect the rates to differ between the sexes,” Sanne A. E. Peters, PhD, lead study author and senior lecturer at The George Institute for Global Health in collaboration with Imperial College London, said in a press release. “It may be that the improvements in men were achieved before our study period, leaving less room for improvement in the most recent decade. It could also be that the attention paid to heart disease in women over recent years has resulted in the greater gains. However, regardless of the improvements, the rates of recurrent events in people who survived a heart attack are still very high in both sexes. Patients should speak with their doctors to ensure that the get the right treatments to prevent secondary events and must make sure that they adopt or maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

This study was published in Circulation.