Plaques Cut Survival in Young Heart Attack Patients

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Blood vessel plaques and the heart's pumping ability influence survival in people under 40 who've suffered a heart attack, new research shows.

The presence of plaques and a decreased pumping ability both predict a drop in survival, according to findings published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Dr. Juan A. Fournier and colleagues from Virgen del Racio University Hospital, Seville, Spain, studied a series of 108 young patients who experienced a heart attack between June 1986 and April 1992. Four of the patients died soon after admission to the hospital.

At 15-year follow-up, 26 percent of the patients had died. Patients who had type 1 diabetes, long-term alcohol abuse, blood vessel plaques, a previous heart attack, and decreased heart-pumping ability were at increased risk for death.

On further analysis, the two factors that independently predicted death were blood vessel plaques and decreased heart-pumping ability. The former increased the risk of death by 4.4-fold, whereas the latter raised the risk by an 46-fold,

SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, October 15, 2004.