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Study: Heart Attack Survivors Most Likely to Develop Heart Failure Within 4 Years

May 25, 2016 09:36 PM EDT

A new study involving nearly 25,000 patients suggests that one out four people who survived heart attack are most likely to develop heart failure within four years of their initial attack.

The study, presented at Heart Failure 2016 and the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure, revealed that patients who survived myocardial infarction, or commonly known as heart attack, have higher risk of developing heart failure.

"Previous research looking at all cause of heart failure, not only after myocardial infarction, has found similar risk factors. Our large cohort study confirms that these are also risky conditions for heart attack patients in the current era," said Dr Johannes Gho, a cardiology resident at the University Medical Center Utrecht, in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in a statement.

For the study, Dr. Gho and his fellow researchers analyzed data of 24 745 patients aged 18 years or older from the UK based CALIBER (CArdiovascular research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records) program. All patients experienced their first heart attack between 1 January 1998 and 25 March 2010 and had no prior history of heart failure.

After a median of 3.7 years, researchers conducted a follow-up to the patients. They discovered that 24.3 percent or 6,005 of the patients developed heart failure within four years after their first attack, with 45 percent increase year every ten years and 27 percent higher risk due to greater socioeconomic deprivation.

Researchers also found out the other health conditions were associated with the increase risk in developing heart failure after surviving a heart attack. These conditions include diabetes with 44 percent increased risk of heart failure, atrial fibrillation with 63 percent increased risk, peripheral arterial disease with 38 percent increased risk, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with 28 percent increased risk and hypertension with 16 percent increased risk.

According to the report from UPI, the number of patients developing heart failure years after their first attack has been stable over time due to two competing trends. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a treatment for acute myocardial infarction where a stent is used to open the blocked artery, improved the treatment for heart attack decreasing the risk of heart failure. However, due to the improvement of the treatment, more patients are alive after a heart attack, in which in turn can develop heart failure.

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