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Fewer Americans Are Suffering Most Dangerous Form of Heart Attack
  • Posted May 3, 2024

Fewer Americans Are Suffering Most Dangerous Form of Heart Attack

Many fewer Americans are falling prey to the most dangerous form of heart attack, a new study says.

STEMI (ST"�segment-elevation myocardial infarction) heart attacks have declined by nearly 50% during the past 15 years in the United States, researchers found.

STEMI heart attacks are caused by a near-total blockage of a coronary artery, researchers said in background notes.

This blockage can cause severe damage to the muscle of the heart's lower pumping chambers, the ventricles. Too much damage and the heart loses its ability to pump a sufficient amount of blood, resulting in death.

"Seeing a decline in STEMI overall was surprising,"lead researcher Dr. Fares Ghanem, a cardiovascular disease physician at Southern Illinois University, said in a news release.

For the study, his team analyzed nationwide hospital data from 2004 to 2020 involving more than 3.4 million heart attack patients.

The overall incidence of STEMI heart attacks decreased to 49 per 100,000 hospitalizations in 2020 from nearly 99 per 100,000 in 2004, results show.

Death rates fell from 25% to 22% in people older than 85 and from 13% to 10.5% in people 65 to 84, results show. Deaths increased slightly for people between 45 and 65 years of age, from 4% to 5.5%.

However, the study did reveal disparities based on how much money people make.

Higher-income people suffer STEMI heart attacks about 20% less often than low-income folks, results show, in a trend that's remained consistent for the past 15 years.

The high-income STEMI rate was 42 per 100,000 in 2020, compared to the low-income rate of 54 per 100,000.

Low-income patients are also about 12% more likely to die from a STEMI heart attack, researchers said.

"The disparities uncovered by our study emphasize there is a gap in care,"Ghanem said.

Researchers presented their findings Thursday at a meeting of Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions held in Long Beach, Calif.

Another study presented at the meeting also uncovered significant disparities in heart attack care.

Women are 18% less likely than men to receive life-saving emergency treatment to detect and then open up blocked coronary arteries, researchers found in an analysis of more than 2.1 million heart attack patients.

Similarly, Black and Hispanic patients had 25% and 17% lower odds of receiving this same urgent medical care than white patients, researchers reported.

"As healthcare professionals, we are trained to care for all our patients equally regardless of race or gender,"said lead researcher Dr. Mandvi Devendra Pandey, a resident physician at Texas Health Resources.

"It is crucial to address these disparities not only to enhance individual patient outcomes but also to advance health equity and social justice,"Pandey continued in a news release. "Our study can serve as a positive catalyst by raising awareness, advocating for targeted quality improvements, and healthcare system reforms so everyone can have better cardiovascular care."

Findings presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Cleveland Clinic has more about STEMI heart attacks.

SOURCE: Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions, news release, May 2, 2024

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