Minor heart attack patients 'more likely to die'
Article in the Telegraph
"Up to 50,000 people who suffer a minor heart attack each year should receive better treatment, they say.
A study looking at data from heart attack patients in 115 hospitals across 14 countries showed that patients who suffered a minor heart attack were more likely to die or have a second heart attack between two weeks and six months after being discharged from hospital than those who had a major attack.
Heart attacks are described as minor or incomplete where the blood flow to the heart muscle is partially blocked rather than cut off completely, as is the case in a major heart attack.
Currently complete heart attacks are aggressively treated with angioplasty to insert a balloon and metal stent to reopen the blood flow but generally less severe heart attacks do not receive the procedure.
However, they can still cause damage to the muscle and Prof Keith Fox, who led the study, says doctors may underestimate their seriousness.
"Clinicians and other physicians really need to be alerted to this," said Prof Fox, from the University of Edinburgh. "Some of these people may have been told, it is only a minor heart attack don't worry too much about it whereas actually it is a wake-up call and they need the best treatment in terms of unblocking the artery."
In the early days after a heart attack those who suffered a complete blockage are more likely to die or have a second attack than those who had an incomplete blockage. But after two weeks this is reversed and those who suffered an incomplete blockage are 15 per cent more likely to die or have a second attack."
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