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Katrina, Other Crises Boost Heart Attacks: Studies
Date:3/8/2013

is to the disaster's psychological toll, not the resulting environmental havoc.

And in yet another example of the heart's response to long-term stress, New Orleans researchers were to report at the heart meeting that a shift in the timing of heart attacks noted after Katrina has begun to return to normal.

Heart attack rates usually peaked on weekday mornings, the first day of the work week, but for five years after the hurricane they occurred more often on weekend nights. Recently, however, Monday heart attacks began creeping up again, suggesting that the city might be seeing a return to typical work-week patterns.

The authors of these studies say the findings could influence decisions about hospital staffing in the wake of global disasters. However, data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on stress and heart health.

SOURCES: Anand Irimpen, M.D., associate professor of medicine, Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute, and chief of cardiology, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, New Orleans; Donald Edmondson, M.D., assistant professor, behavioral medicine, Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, Columbia University Medical Center, New York City; American College of Cardiology, annual meeting, San Francisco, March 7, 2013


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