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Changes in heart attack timing continue years after hurricane
Date:3/7/2013

tients in the post-Katrina group were more likely to be smokers (52.3 vs. 34.4 percent) and lack health insurance (17.1 vs. 8.4 percent) compared to those before the storm. No significant differences were noted between groups in terms of age, sex, ethnicity, medical comorbidities, medications or substance abuse. Excluded from the study were non-New Orleans residents, hospital transfers, patients with symptom onset while hospitalized and patients without adequate documentation of timing of symptom onset.

Dr. Peters says this research may affect hospitals and health care workers in areas hard-hit by hurricanes and other natural disasters as they tend to be understaffed at night or on the weekends because, under normal circumstances, fewer patients come in. However, based on these findings, after a disaster the opposite might be true. He says this could affect patient outcomes as well because patients who are treated at night generally have higher failure rates for angioplasty, longer door-to-balloon times and higher rates of in-hospital mortality, he adds.

"With the increased incidence of major disasters in the U.S. and worldwide, it is important to understand how these disasters affect the heart because clearly they do," Dr. Peters said.

Dr. Peters and his team, led by Anand Irimpen, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Heart and Vascular Institute of Tulane University School of Medicine and chief of cardiology at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, are planning to collaborate with medical centers in other regions hard-hit by hurricanes or other natural disasters to collect more data on these trends.


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Contact: Beth Casteel
bcasteel@acc.org
240-328-4549
American College of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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