Unrecognized Heart Attacks Common, Deadly

Posted by M ws On Saturday, February 2, 2013 0 comments


For every heart attack that strikes with chest pain, shortness of breath and nausea, almost two more slide in under the radar among older adults, a new study found.

The imaging study of 936 elderly men and women in Iceland found 17 percent had signs of an unrecognized heart attack: a blood vessel blockage that scarred the heart, according to MRI images, without sparking the symptoms that land patients in the hospital. Less than 10 percent of study participants had a heart attack with recognizable symptoms.

"The fact that there were more people with unrecognized heart attacks than recognized heart attacks suggests it's a big problem," said study author Dr. Andrew Arai of the Bethesda Md.-based National Blood, Heart and Lung Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

But the problem gets bigger. Unrecognized heart attacks are almost as deadly as "full-blown" symptomatic ones, Arai said. Of the 157 people whose heart attacks went unnoticed, 44 died within eight years of follow-up.


For every heart attack that strikes with chest pain, shortness of breath and nausea, almost two more slide in under the radar among older adults, a new study found.

The imaging study of 936 elderly men and women in Iceland found 17 percent had signs of an unrecognized heart attack: a blood vessel blockage that scarred the heart, according to MRI images, without sparking the symptoms that land patients in the hospital. Less than 10 percent of study participants had a heart attack with recognizable symptoms.

"The fact that there were more people with unrecognized heart attacks than recognized heart attacks suggests it's a big problem," said study author Dr. Andrew Arai of the Bethesda Md.-based National Blood, Heart and Lung Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

But the problem gets bigger. Unrecognized heart attacks are almost as deadly as "full-blown" symptomatic ones, Arai said. Of the 157 people whose heart attacks went unnoticed, 44 died within eight years of follow-up.



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