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Life After Heart Attacks in Low-Income and Minority Communities

  • Posted on: May 19 2022
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A recent JAMA study on the long-term effects of heart attacks has revealed an improvement in hospitalization and mortality rates after a 10-year period for a majority of people but not for low-income and minority communities. 

Mortality rates and recurrence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), or heart attack, after one year, have declined in the United States, but men, Black patients, and patients with an income low enough to be eligible for dual Medicare-Medicaid continue to have high risks of negative outcomes 10 years after a heart attack. 

The Study

Author Dr. Harlan Krumholz, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), and Harold H. Hines Jr., Professor of Medicine at Yale, as well as colleagues at the Yale School of Public Health and the Yale School of Medicine, conducted the study. They used national Medicare fee-for-service data to study all-cause mortality for 10 years after a heart attack in people 66 years and older. 

Because this database is the largest and most comprehensive long-term AMI outcome data, they were able to assess trends in the overall community as well as in certain demographics. 

They defined demographics by:

  • Age in two groups — 65 to 79 years and 80 years and older
  • Sex
  • Race — black, white, Hispanic, and other
  • Eligibility for dual Medicare-Medicaid

They assessed data for almost 4 million beneficiaries of Medicare fee-for-service over the age of 65. 

Analyzing the Results

Although there was an overall decrease in mortality and hospitalization rates between 1995 and 2019 following a heart attack, those in Black and low-income communities saw an increase in negative results. 

In these communities, the authors of the study also saw changes in the diagnosing of ST-elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs). A STEMI is a type of heart attack that usually affects the heart’s lower chambers, changing the electrical current running through them. STEMIs tend to be more severe and more dangerous than other heart attack types, making their quick diagnosis essential. The authors also saw changes in the use of revascularization procedures, which can help treat coronary artery diseases. 

The authors also noted that the 10-year recurrent rate of AMI was 27%. This is three times higher than the recurrent rate reported in 2010. 

People who experienced multiple heart attacks during the study’s 10-year period (about a quarter of them) also had a higher mortality risk. The authors have gathered from this information that taking steps to prevent a second heart attack can have significant long-term effects on a person. Since the first year after an AMI is the most important, taking steps to prevent a recurrence at that time is vital. 

Dr. Harlan Krumholz recognizes the progress made in the past 10 years but also sees inequalities in long-term health outcomes in minority and low-income demographics. He also wants to find ways of providing more information and the right medications to patients to be able to prevent another heart attack. 

Trust Your Heart Health to the Experts

From this study, it is easy to see what an impact the right heart care has on mortality rates. By turning to experts after a heart attack or any other heart trouble, you can reduce the risk of a second heart attack and improve your overall outcome.

At Cardiovascular Wellness, we care for patients throughout Hicksville and Lake Success, NY. We can offer innovative techniques and treatment options, as well as some of the most advanced diagnostics in the industry. We strive to make your life easier and to provide the quality heart care you can depend on. 

Get in touch with the cardiologists at Cardiovascular Wellness for help today.

Posted in: Heart Attack

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