Heart Beat: 04/09
The severity of first heart attacks has dropped notably, and better preventive behaviors and improved hospital care deserve much of the credit, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. An analysis of more than 10,000 hospitalized Americans during a 15-year span showed a significant drop in the proportion of patients who had major electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities. Researchers suggested that better control of heart disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and cholesterol, and improvements in hospital management contributed to a decrease in the severity of the heart attacks. They also noted that the reduction in first heart attack severity coincides with a decline in deaths due to heart disease.