Angina Strikes 1 in 5 Heart Attack Survivors

The chest pain is most likely in younger males, study finds

MONDAY, June 23, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- One year after suffering a heart attack, nearly one in five survivors experience chest pain, according to a U.S. study of almost 2,000 patients.

Researchers found that 389 (19.9 percent) of the patients reported angina (episodic chest pain) one year after hospitalization for heart attack. This included 24 (1.2 percent) who reported daily chest pain, 59 (3 percent) reporting weekly chest pain, and 306 (15.6 percent) reporting chest pain less than once a week.

Patients who reported chest pain were more likely to be younger, non-white males with prior chest pain who'd undergone prior coronary artery bypass surgery and experienced recurring rest chest pain while hospitalized for heart attack. Patients with chest pain were also more likely to continue smoking, to undergo surgery to reestablish blood flow to the heart (revascularization) after hospitalization, and to have significant new, persistent or fleeting depressive symptoms, the study said.

The findings were published in the June 23 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Multiple factors were associated with one-year angina, including demographic, clinical, inpatient and outpatient characteristics. Recognition of these relationships will be important in monitoring at-risk patients after acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)," wrote Dr. Thomas M. Maddox, of Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Colorado Denver, and colleagues.

"In addition, future investigation into modifiable factors, such as depression and smoking cessation, will be important in the quest to alleviate angina and improve subsequent cardiac outcomes among patients after myocardial infarction," the researchers said.

Identifying heart attack survivors who are likely most likely to suffer chest pain is important to treating the problem and improving patient outcomes, including the ability to exercise, and health-related quality of life, the team noted.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about life after a heart attack.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, June 23, 2008
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