Major heart attacks are more deadly during colder months

June 15, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: June 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: Heart attacks are more likely to kill you in the winter than in the summer, according to new research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester. Cardiologists at Leeds General Infirmary compared information from 4,056 people who received treatment for a heart attack in four separate years, and found the most severe heart attacks were more deadly in the coldest six months, compared to the warmest.

The overall number of heart attacks was roughly the same in the coldest half of the year, compared to the warmer months (52% between November and April), with the most serious heart attacks leading to cardiac arrest and cardiogenic shock. The risk of dying within 30 days of a severe heart attack was nearly 50% higher in the six coldest months, compared to the six warmest months (28% vs 20%).

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation

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‘Apple-shaped’ women may have increased heart attack risk

April 27, 2018

Source: NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: March 2018

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: “Women with apple-shaped bodies are ‘more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who are pear-shaped’,” the Daily Mirror reports, as a new study found a link between increased waist size and heart attack.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and other institutions investigated the links between having increased levels of body fat and the risk of having a heart attack.

They used data from people enrolled in the UK Biobank study, which asked nearly 500,000 adults between the ages of 40 and 69 about their health.

The study found having a bigger waist and having a bigger waist relative to your hips were linked to an increased risk of having a heart attack.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines


Progress in reducing heart attack deaths stalls

February 22, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: February 2018

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Progress in reducing premature deaths (under 75) from coronary heart disease – the leading cause of heart attacks – is slowing to a near standstill, according to our latest figures.  Although there was a small fall in deaths from coronary heart disease in 2016, our research shows that the death rate declined by just 11% between 2012 and 2016, compared to 24% between 2007 and 2011.

In 2016 in the UK, 22,615 people died from coronary heart disease before they reached the age of 75 – the equivalent of 434 people every week. In total, more than 66,000 people of all ages lost their lives to the disease, which remains one of the UK’s single biggest killers.

The slow down in progress could soon spell the end of decades of continuous decline in deaths from heart disease unless research is accelerated to improve diagnosis and treatment.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Standard medical tests miss nearly two-thirds of heart attack diagnoses

February 22, 2018

Source: Science Daily

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Date of publication: February 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: ‘Unrecognized’ and ‘recognized’ heart attacks have the same long-term risk of death.  Unrecognised heart attacks (myocardial infarction; MI) refer to sub-clinical events that are missed in routine medical care but are picked up by electrocardiogram (ECG) or by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, which is more accurate.2

“Unrecognised MI has a poor short-term prognosis but until now the long-term outlook was unknown,” said lead author Dr Tushar Acharya, a cardiologist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, US. “This study investigated long-term outcomes.”

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: Science Daily


Middle-aged can reverse heart risk with exercise, study suggests

February 22, 2018

Source: BBC Health News

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Date of publication: January 2018

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: The study, published in the journal Circulation, analysed the hearts of 53 adults aged 45-64 who were healthy but had no history of exercising regularly.

Research has shown that sedentary behaviours – such as sitting or reclining for long periods of time – increase the risk of heart disease.

The study’s participants were divided into two groups, with one following an aerobic exercise routine that progressed in intensity over the two years and another doing yoga, balance training and weight training three times a week, also for two years.

The aerobic exercise group showed an 18% improvement in their maximum oxygen intake during exercise and a more than 25% improvement in “plasticity” in the left ventricular muscle of the heart – both markers of a healthier heart.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: BBC Health News


Fewer women would die from heart attacks if given same treatments as men

January 15, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication:  January 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell:  Fewer of the thousands of women who suffer a heart attack each year in the UK would die if they were given the same treatments as men, according to new research part funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers at the University of Leeds and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden used data from Sweden’s extensive online cardiac registry, SWEDEHEART, to monitor the long-term health of 180,368 patients who suffered a heart attack between 1st January 2003 and 31st December 2013.

After accounting for the expected number of deaths seen in the average population, the researchers found that women had an excess mortality of up to three times higher than men’s in the year after having a heart attack. The excess mortality is the extra deaths in the people who have a disease, above and beyond what you might expect in the general population. It helps to separate the deaths are due to a specific disease (in this case heart attacks) from deaths due to other causes. This is important because it adjust for the fact that women generally live longer than men.

Women were more likely to suffer from other illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, but these did not fully account for the excess mortality.

However, women were on average less likely than men to receive the recommended treatments after a heart attack.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Scientists study early heart growth to help heart attack patients

January 15, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication:  January 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell:  Scientists at the University of Cambridge are to study how the heart grows at its earliest moments in an effort to help heart attack patients.

Dr Sanjay Sinha has been awarded £183,000 by the BHF to identify different cells within the epicardium – the outer layer of the heart that plays an important role in the development of the heart and its response to injury (a heart attack).

The cells have different levels of a variety of key proteins, such as TCF21 and WT1. These proteins  are believed to play a critical role by controlling the growth of cells which eventually form the connective tissues and blood vessels of the heart in an embryo. Dr Sinha will be studying the differences between the epicardial cells to see if some cells have better regenerative properties than others.

After a heart attack, damage to the heart muscle is irreversible as the heart does not repair itself or replace damaged tissue. This can lead heart failure, a condition where the heart is less able to pump blood around the body.

Unlike some fish and amphibians, humans are unable to replace or regenerate lost heart muscle. However, by determining how the epicardium controls heart cell growth in the embryo, Dr Sinha believes it might be possible to ‘switch on’ this ability in adults.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation