Nav: Home

Smoking rises in Argentina heart attack patients as cigarettes 'among cheapest in world'

October 13, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina 13 Oct 2016: Levels of smoking are rising in heart attack patients in Argentina, according to a study presented today at the Argentine Congress of Cardiology (SAC 2016). The findings coincide with a 100% increase in affordability in the last decade, which have made cigarettes among the cheapest in the world.1 Researchers also report improved treatment for heart attacks but no decrease in mortality.

The annual congress of the Argentine Society of Cardiology is being held in Buenos Aires from 13 to 15 October. Experts from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) will present a special programme.2

The study compared risk factors, treatment and outcomes of heart attack patients using the SCAR (2011) and ARGEN-IAM-ST (2015) surveys conducted by the Argentine Society of Cardiology. The analysis included 676 patients with ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction (STEMI), of which 222 were from SCAR and 454 participated in ARGEN-IAM-ST. Only patients from centres participating in both registries were included.

There were no significant changes between the two surveys in age, gender, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension. Patients who had a heart attack were 60 years old on average, around one-quarter were women, 20% had type 2 diabetes, around half had high cholesterol, and more than half had hypertension.

Smoking increased from 42% of heart attack patients in 2011 to 69% in 2015. "Sales of cigarettes in Argentina increased by almost 17% between 2011 and 2015," said Dr Claudio Higa, leader of the SCAR survey and a cardiologist at Hospital Alemán in Buenos Aires.

"The rise of cigarette prices during the last decade was lower than the increase in incomes, making Argentina one of the countries with the cheapest cigarettes in the world," he continued. "Our study was observational so we cannot say this caused the increase in smoking but it likely contributed."

Treatment for STEMI improved between the two time periods. The rate of primary angioplasty, the recommended treatment, increased from 89% to 95%. The use of fibrinolytic agents, which are a second option when primary angioplasty is not possible, decreased from 11% to 4%.

Regarding the use of antithrombotic and antiplatelet drugs, the use of bivalirudin increased and there were decreases in the use of clopidogrel and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors between the two time periods.

Looking at outcomes, the prevalence of cardiogenic shock was halved in 2015 compared to 2011, as was postinfarct angina. But there were no differences in the rates of mortality and reinfarction during hospitalisation. Around 6-9% of patients died in hospital after their heart attack and 2% had another event.

Dr Higa said: "Treatment for heart attacks has improved in Argentina but unfortunately this has not translated into a reduction in deaths or repeat heart attacks. It could be that more time is needed for better therapy to show an impact, or that the study was too small to show any difference."

He concluded: "Our results confirm that reperfusion therapy is improving in Argentina, as well as the use of evidence based medications. It is also encouraging that the mortality rate is still below 10%, which compares favourably to European surveys. Studies are ongoing to monitor the quality of treatment for heart attacks in Argentina, patient risk factors, and clinical outcomes."

Dr Raúl Alfredo Borracci, a past director of the SAC Research Area and current co-director of the Argentine Journal of Cardiology and professor of biostatistics at Austral University of Argentina, said: "Only if we consider that urgent angioplasty is a better approach than primary fibrinolysis, then, comparative data of SCAR (2011) and ARGEN-IAM-ST (2015) show that reperfusion therapy is improving in Argentina. Nevertheless, antithrombotic and antiplatelet drugs use appears to have been neglected in this same period of time. For instance, the increased use of new drugs such as bivalirudin did not compensate for the reduction of clopidogrel and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors."

"Although the authors found no statistical difference between the two mortality rates, it should be emphasised that the sample size is underpowered," added Dr Borracci. "In fact, the mortality risk of infarction appears to have increased by 33% in the ARGEN-IAM-ST (2015) compared to 2011 (relative risk 1.33, 95% confidence interval 0.73-2.40)."

"Some concerns arise regarding smoking rates, since the National Surveys on Risk Factors in Argentina showed a steady decline through 2005 (29.7%), 2009 (27.1%) and 2013 (25.1%) for the general population," he continued. "Consequently, it is difficult to explain the variation of smoking rates found in the patient cohorts."

Dr Borracci said: "It is well known that smoking rates may vary significantly in times of economic or social crisis; but I do not think that was the situation of Argentina between these periods. A more plausible explanation would be a lack of proper medical advice on the need to quit smoking after a heart attack. This aspect should be emphasised in the care of patients by Argentinean cardiologists."

Professor Michel Komajda, a past president of the ESC and course director of the ESC programme in Argentina, said: "Smoking is one of the main risk factors for first and repeat heart attacks.3 The chance of dying from cardiovascular disease over a ten year period is approximately doubled in smokers. Kicking the habit is the best thing you can do to reduce your risk, together with being physically active and eating healthy food."
Authors: ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0)4 89 87 24 83

Notes to editor

1Rodríguez-Iglesias G, Ríos B, Shammah C, Schoj V. Estado de situación sobre aspectos fiscales y de accesibilidad del tabaco en la Argentina. Rev Argent Cardiol. 2016;84:146-151.

2Sessions with ESC faculty will be held on 14 and 15 October

32016 European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice. European Heart Journal. 2016;37:2315-2381. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehw106

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together health care professionals from more than 120 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

About the Argentine Society of Cardiology

The Argentine Society of Cardiology (SAC) is dedicated to professional education, health promotion and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

European Society of Cardiology

Related Smoking Articles:

Telomere length unaffected by smoking
A new study has surprised the medical world, finding that smoking does not shorten the length of telomeres -- a marker at the end of our chromosomes that is widely accepted as an indicator of aging.
Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.
Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.
Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.
Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.
A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.
A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.
No safe level of smoking
People who consistently smoked an average of less than one cigarette per day over their lifetime had a 64 percent higher risk of earlier death than people who never smoked.
More Smoking News and Smoking Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab