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Predictors of dying suddenly versus surviving heart attack identified
Date:7/25/2011

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. July 25, 2011 Is it possible to predict whether someone is likely to survive or die suddenly from a heart attack?

A new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has answered just that.

"For some people, the first heart attack is more likely to be their last," said Elsayed Z. Soliman, M.D., M.Sc., M.S., director of the Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE) at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study. "For these people especially, it is important that we find ways to prevent that first heart attack from ever happening because their chances of living through it are not as good."

While there are many traits that are common among heart attack patients both those who survive the event and those who die suddenly researchers found that some traits, such as hypertension, race/ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), heart rate, and additional markers that can be identified by an electrocardiogram (ECG) can differentiate between dying suddenly versus living through a heart attack, Soliman said.

The study, published by the journal Heart, is now available online.

Somewhere between 230,000 and 325,000 people in the U.S. succumb to sudden cardiac death every year, Soliman said. Most of these sudden deaths are caused by coronary heart disease.

"Since sudden cardiac death usually occurs before patients ever make it to the hospital, there is very little that can be done to save them," Soliman said. "Identifying specific predictors that separate the risk of sudden cardiac death from that of non-fatal or not immediately fatal heart attacks would be the first step to address this problem, which was the basis for our study."

Researchers analyzed data from two of the largest U.S. cardiovascular studies the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) and the CHS (Cardiovascular Health Study) containing records for more than 18,000 participants. After
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wakehealth.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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