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International Study Shows High Impact of Arterial Disease

About 15 to 21 percent of those with atherosclerotic disease die or have a cardiovascular event each year

TUESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- About one in seven outpatients with established atherosclerotic disease dies or is hospitalized each year due to a stroke, myocardial infarction or other cardiovascular event, according to the results of an international study published in the March 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ph. Gabriel Steg, M.D., from Hopital Bichat-Claude Bernard in Paris, France, and colleagues examined the one-year cardiovascular event rates for 64,977 patients in 44 countries in 2003-2004. The patients had established atherosclerotic arterial disease or at least three risk factors for atherothrombosis.

The overall rate for cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction or stroke was 4.69 percent in those with established disease and 2.15 percent in patients with multiple risk factors only. About 15.2 percent of patients with coronary heart disease had a myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular-related death, as did 14.53 percent of those with cardiovascular disease, and 21.14 percent of those with peripheral arterial disease. The rates increased with increasing number of symptomatic arterial disease locations, and ranged from 5.31 to 26.27 percent.

The study "demonstrates that the cardiovascular disease epidemic remains a critical and urgent international public health problem," Mary M. McDermott, M.D., from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, writes in an accompanying editorial.

The patient registry was sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Waksman Foundation (Tokyo).

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