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National Study Suggests Heart Attack Severity May Be Declining

903 first heart attacks. Of these, 71.7 percent met the criteria for a definite (as opposed to a probable) heart attack. But that percentage actually was decreasing over the course of the study.

During the study, two of three indicators that were based on the electrocardiograms showed an increase in severity.

However, a different kind of measure based on enzymes in the blood that confirm heart attacks showed declining severity, despite the development of more sensitive measurements.

A third kind of measure, based on whether patients had an abnormal pulse rate, or had an abnormally low systolic blood pressure (the first number of the two in the typical blood pressure statement), showed little change.

Thus, he said, the results from the severity indicators "are somewhat inconsistent," but as a whole, they point to a lessening in the severity of hospitalized heart attack patients.

He said the findings support the combined roles of preventive efforts and acute medical care in reducing coronary heart disease mortality.

"Continued commitment of resources to research and development in these areas, to the implementation of new knowledge into medical practice and to the monitoring of these trends through high quality surveillance activities is justified in the ongoing effort to reduce the human suffering and financial burden associated with coronary heart disease in the United States," Goff said.

"Some of these prevention efforts are paying off."


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Contact: Robert Conn, Mark Wright or Jim Steele
rconn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4587
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
24-Mar-1999


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