A recent study has shown that 25 percent of patients that have experienced myocardial infarctions eventually suffer from heart failure.

The research team studied 25,000 patients who have experienced their first heart attack between 1998 and 2010. The patients were aged 18 years old and above and had no prior history of heart failure.

Data for the study was obtained from the UK-based CALIBER programme (a cardiovascular research using linked bespoke studies and electronic health records), which acts as repository of medical, administrative and mortality records of patients from primary and secondary care centres.

The team found that approximately 25 percent of the patients developed heart failure, and more alarming was that 10 percent experienced it within the first 30 days following the heart attack, during a median follow-up of 3.7 years.

The study also noted that only 18 percent of patients who experienced heart attacks between 1998 and 2001 had less incidences of heart failure compared to around 20 percent from 2004 to 2007.

According to Dr. Johannes Go, a cardiology resident at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, this is most likely due to the fact that modern medicine ups the patients’ chances to survive the damage of more serious heart attacks but it also sets them up for higher risks of heart failure later on.

Several other factors play into the risk of heart failure. Irregular heartbeats are associated with 63 percent increased risk, diabetes with 44 percent, and peripheral arterial disease with 38 percent. Other factors like age, socioeconomic status, and hypertension, also influence this risk.

"Heart failure is a major medical problem with a high chance of hospitalisation and death,” said Dr Gho in a statement.

"Research studying incidence of heart failure following myocardial infarction is limited and mainly stems from the thrombolytic era, when drugs were used to dissolve blood clots,” he said.

Presently, the preferred treatment for acute myocardial infarction is percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) where a stent is used to open the blocked artery.

Alongside the advancements in treatment and medicine, prognosis and prevention should also evolve. The study is a precedent to more of its kind which, collectively, will allow healthcare professionals to better predict and avoid heart failures.

As healthcare professionals are able to identify prognostic factor in heart attack patients, they will be better able to predict the risk of developing heart failure and provide timely intervention that can reduce the risk. MIMS