Severe Heart Attacks May Be Less Life-Threatening
According to a new French study, the most severe heart attacks are not as dangerous as they were in previous years. The study observed patients in 2010 who were hospitalized following a severe heart attack. These patients were found to have less than a 5% chance of dying within 30 days of being admitted. According to data from hospitals throughout the country, nearly 14% of patients died from severe heart attacks in 1995.
The researchers based their study off of data that was publicly available from registries throughout France. They reviewed data over five-year intervals from 1995 to 2010. Nearly 6,700 patients were included in the study.
Researchers believe there are a number of reasons why patients are more likely to survive severe heart attacks than in previous years. Some of these factors may have been uncontrollable factors such as changes in demographics. However, increased access to medical care are believed to have played a leading role as well.
The findings of the French study were comparable to those in studies in other countries. Europe and the United States have also taken additional measures to advance medical treatments, which are credited with saving lives of many heart attack patients. Health care officials around the world have recognized heart disease as a major epidemic and have made educating patients and health care providers one of its chief priorities.
Patients are also more educated about the risks of heart attacks. More patients are coming to hospitals when they are suffering from chest pains and other symptoms which indicate they may be suffering from a heart attack. Patients who ask for treatment early on are much more likely to receive help.
A variety of new treatments have been made available to patients in recent years. These include:
- Removing artery blockages
- Keeping blood vessels open when blood flow is constricted
- Increased use of ACE inhibitors and other medications found effective in treating heart disease
Although the severity of heart attacks decreased substantially over that time frame, the prevalence of heart attacks increased among some demographics. The study showed that nearly twice as many women under the age of 30 are suffering from heart attacks. According to some experts, this shows that even though doctors are providing more advanced treatment, some patients are making poor lifestyle decisions that contribute to their own health crises.
Authors of the study found that new measures will likely need to be taken to discourage younger women from smoking. Advances in medicine are encouraging, but patients will need to take control of their own treatment to reduce their chances of developing heart attacks. Dr. Marianne Legato, a physician in New York, said that doctors can only do so much if patients choose to ignore symptoms and make poor lifestyle choices.