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Smoking Status Predicts Long-Term Survival After First AMI

Quitting before or after AMI reduces death risk by up to 50 percent; cutting back is also beneficial

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who quit smoking before or after a first heart attack significantly improve their odds of long-term survival, and smokers who reduce their consumption after a heart attack also have a modest survival benefit, according to a study in the Dec. 15/22 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Yariv Gerber, Ph.D., of the Sackler Medical School in Tel Aviv, Israel, and colleagues conducted a population-based cohort study of 1,521 patients who were discharged between 1992 and 1993 with a first heart attack and followed through 2005.

During follow-up, 427 of the patients died. Compared to persistent smokers, the researchers found that the risk of death was significantly lower among never-smokers, pre-heart attack quitters, and post-heart attack quitters (hazard ratios, 0.57, 0.50, and 0.63, respectively). In persistent smokers, they also found that each reduction of five cigarettes smoked daily decreased the risk of death by 18 percent.

"Continuing to smoke after an acute myocardial infarction reduces life expectancy," the authors conclude. "Smokers who have had a heart attack should be provided with appropriate interventions to help them quit."

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