07/08/2009

Male Angina 'Doubles Risk Of Heart Attack'

New research has shown that men with angina are twice as likely to have a heart attack and almost three times as likely to suffer a heart disease-related death than women with the same condition, a study published by the British Medical Journal has revealed.

Researchers led by Dr Brian Buckley of the National University of Ireland, Galway, identified 1,785 patients (average age 62 years) from 40 primary care practices in Scotland, who were newly diagnosed with angina between January 1998 and December 2001.

Underlying conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, were recorded and cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking and obesity, were also assessed. The postcode of each patient was also used to assign a deprivation status.

Participants were tracked for five years.

Being male, older and a smoker was associated with an increased risk of having a heart attack, while being male, older, obese and a smoker were each associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease or any cause.

The likelihood of having a procedure to open up blocked arteries, known as angioplasty (PTCA) or coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) was also higher in men than in women. But, interestingly, neither procedure was associated with significantly improved survival.

The study showed a number of characteristics, including male sex, age, smoking and obesity, in people with a first diagnosis of angina are strongly associated with a subsequent risk of a number of cardiac outcomes, the report's authors said.

The report's authors concluded that the results suggested that appropriate control of risk factors and optimal use of preventative medical treatments should be aggressively pursued in patients with angina.

The study is the first to link primary and secondary care data with mortality records to assess the risks of angina among men and women.

In the United Kingdom, angina is common and is often the first manifestation of ischaemic heart disease.

Recent estimates suggest that 4.8% of men and 3.4% of women aged over 16 in England have the condition, while in Scotland, angina is reported to occur in 6.6% of men and 5.6% of women.

The study said that it was therefore important for both patients and their clinicians to understand the risks following a diagnosis of angina.

(KMcA/BMcC)

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