Important news for the nearly one million Americans who will have their first heart attack over the next 12 months. Researchers report that it may be possible to predict who will survive or die as a result of that attack.
According to the new study which analyzed data from nearly 20,000 people there are 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 which is a measurement based on height and weight.
“For some people, the first heart attack is more likely to end their life,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, a national trade group. “But increasingly more people are surviving heart attacks as well as cancer and strokes.”
The researchers found that in general blacks are at higher risk than non-blacks of sudden cardiac death, in which the heart suddenly stops beating. But, they noted, they 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 disease. 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 are associated with increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
Nearly 800,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack this year and about 600,000 will experience their first stroke according to a report from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks health-related data. “Both stroke and heart attack are leading health conditions that can financially wipe out a family,” explains Jesse Slome, the association’s executive director.