Younger patients with several modifiable risk factors such as high blood pressure and smoking experience repeated heart attacks more frequently, a new study finds.
The study presented at the American College of Cardiology Asia Conference 2018 in Shanghai, suggested that secondary preventive programs for younger patients should target modifiable risk factors.
“When treating younger patients with a history of heart attack, clinicians should emphasize better control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Other modifiable risk factors to highlight in patient history and address with these patients include smoking habits and obesity,” said Joanne Karen Recacho-Turingan, MD, a Cardiology Fellow at The Medical City in Manila, Philippines.
For the study, researchers analyzed 133 young patients admitted for a heart attack at The Medical City between 2013 and 2016. 22 patients had a reoccurrence, during the study period.
- All patients who experienced a second heart attack were male with an average age of 40.9 years.
- Patients who did not experience a reoccurrence were 90.1 percent male and 9.9 percent female with an average age of 39.6 years.
- Risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease and chronic kidney disease were more prevalent among the patients who experienced a reoccurrence.
- In these patients, chest pain was the most common presenting symptom at 81.8 percent while 90.9 percent had unstable vital signs at the time of admission.
“Heart attack in young patients can cause disability and even death at the prime of life,” said Recacho-Turingan.
“There are often serious consequences for these patients, their families and the health system, which can lead to an increased economic burden. We must make sure to work with these patients on their modifiable risk factors to reduce their risk not just for a second heart attack, but hopefully, even preventing the first.”
Previous studies have defined young heart attack patients as less than 45 years old while some used a less than 40-year old cut-off. Prior research has found these patients have a high prevalence of smoking, family history, and high cholesterol.