Predicting Who Will -- and Won't -- Survive a Heart
THURSDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- It may be possible to
predict who will survive or die as the result of a first heart
attack, researchers have found.
They analyzed data from more than 18,000 people in two of the
largest U.S. cardiovascular studies and pinpointed certain traits
that could predict the risk that a heart attack would be fatal.
Those traits included having high blood pressure, being black and
having a very high body mass index (BMI) -- a measurement based on
height and weight.
"For some people, the first heart attack is more likely to be their last," lead author Dr. Elsayed Z. Soliman, director of the Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE) at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a center news release. "For these people especially, it is important that we find ways to prevent that first heart attack from ever happening because their chances of living through it are not as good."
Among the researchers' findings:
- Blacks are at higher risk than non-blacks of sudden cardiac
death, in which the heart suddenly stops beating, but are at less
risk of coronary heart disease.
- High blood pressure and increased heart rate were stronger
predictors of sudden cardiac death than coronary heart
- Extreme high or low BMI was predictive of increased risk of
sudden cardiac death, but not of coronary heart disease.
- Certain markers that can be identified by doctors evaluating
patients' electrocardiograms (ECGs) are associated with increased
risk of sudden cardiac death.
The study was released online July 20 in advance of publication
in an upcoming print issue of the journal
If the findings are validated and confirmed in future research,
doctors will be able to identify patients who are at greater risk
of dying if they suffer a heart attack and prescribe ways to reduce
their risk, Soliman said.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
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