A major challenge for young heart attack patients: Affordable health care

October 18, 2016

In the year following a heart attack, financial barriers to healthcare are linked to worse health outcomes in young women and young men, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).

The national study of a group of young adults with myocardial infarction found that those who reported experiencing financial barriers to healthcare services and medication reported worse quality of life, more depressive symptoms, poorer psychosocial status, and more stress than patients without financial barriers, both while in the hospital and 12 months later.

"Despite the expansion of insurance coverage, young adults face major challenges to obtaining affordable healthcare," said first author Adam Beckman, a 2016 graduate of Yale College and the Yale Global Health Scholars program. "We suspected women may experience greater challenges than men -- they often have lower income and less complete medical coverage than men, and care for multiple generations of family, and that this may in part explain why young women have worse outcomes following a heart attack as compared with similarly-aged men."

The research team surveyed 3,437 patients with a heart attack (ages 18-55) both one month and 12-months after their hospitalization. The patients were from the VIRGO study (Recovery in Variation: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients), a trial observing younger patients after heart attack, particularly women, from the United States and Spain.

The team found that nearly one in three young adults reported financial barriers to health care services and about one in five reported financial barriers to medications, women more so than men. "Contrary to our hypothesis, both men and women who reported having a financial barrier were significantly worse off one year after their heart attack," said Beckman.

"Our study emphasizes that patients need us to think about their social needs, not just their clinical symptoms," said senior author Dr. Erica Spatz, assistant professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine and a clinical investigator at the Yale Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CORE). "We have not completed our job if we discharge patients from the hospital and recommend they use medications or services like cardiac rehab that they cannot afford."
Other authors on the study included Emily M. Bucholz, Weiwei Zhang, Xiao Xu, Rachel P. Dreyer, Kelly M. Strait, John A. Spertus, and Harlan M. Krumholz.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute partially funded the study. Other funding is noted in the research manuscript.

Yale University

Related Heart Attack Articles from Brightsurf:

Top Science Tip Sheet on heart failure, heart muscle cells, heart attack and atrial fibrillation results
Newly discovered pathway may have potential for treating heart failure - New research model helps predict heart muscle cells' impact on heart function after injury - New mass spectrometry approach generates libraries of glycans in human heart tissue - Understanding heart damage after heart attack and treatment may provide clues for prevention - Understanding atrial fibrillation's effects on heart cells may help find treatments - New research may lead to therapy for heart failure caused by ICI cancer medication

Molecular imaging identifies link between heart and kidney inflammation after heart attack
Whole body positron emission tomography (PET) has, for the first time, illustrated the existence of inter-organ communication between the heart and kidneys via the immune system following acute myocardial infarction.

Muscle protein abundant in the heart plays key role in blood clotting during heart attack
A prevalent heart protein known as cardiac myosin, which is released into the body when a person suffers a heart attack, can cause blood to thicken or clot--worsening damage to heart tissue, a new study shows.

New target identified for repairing the heart after heart attack
An immune cell is shown for the first time to be involved in creating the scar that repairs the heart after damage.

Heart cells respond to heart attack and increase the chance of survival
The heart of humans and mice does not completely recover after a heart attack.

A simple method to improve heart-attack repair using stem cell-derived heart muscle cells
The heart cannot regenerate muscle after a heart attack, and this can lead to lethal heart failure.

Mount Sinai discovers placental stem cells that can regenerate heart after heart attack
Study identifies new stem cell type that can significantly improve cardiac function.

Fixing a broken heart: Exploring new ways to heal damage after a heart attack
The days immediately following a heart attack are critical for survivors' longevity and long-term healing of tissue.

Heart patch could limit muscle damage in heart attack aftermath
Guided by computer simulations, an international team of researchers has developed an adhesive patch that can provide support for damaged heart tissue, potentially reducing the stretching of heart muscle that's common after a heart attack.

How the heart sends an SOS signal to bone marrow cells after a heart attack
Exosomes are key to the SOS signal that the heart muscle sends out after a heart attack.

Read More: Heart Attack News and Heart Attack Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.