Study reports heart attack death rate cut in half in six years

May 7, 2007

Death rates and heart failure in hospitalized heart attack patients have fallen significantly, due in part to the growing use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, powerful blood thinners, and angioplasty.

Death rates and heart failure in hospitalized heart attack patients have fallen significantly, due in part to the growing use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, powerful blood thinners, and angioplasty. A six-year study involved nearly 45,000 patients in 14 countries who had major heart attacks or dangerous partial artery blockages. The percentage of patients who developed heart failure or who died in the hospital was nearly cut in half from 1999 to 2005. The heart attack patients treated most recently were far less likely to have another attack within six months of being hospitalized when compared with the patients who had been treated six years earlier—a sign that the more aggressive efforts of doctors in the past few years are working. The research showed that, in 2005, 4.6% of heart attack patients died in the hospital, compared with 8.4% in 1999. Heart failure developed in 11% of heart attack patients in 2005, versus nearly 20% in 1999. And just 2% had subsequent heart attacks in 2005, compared with 4.8% previously. The study was funded by a grant from Sanofi-Aventis, maker of several heart drugs including Plavix (clopidogrel) and ACE inhibitors.

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