Mayo Clinic study finds that after heart attack most patients stop taking life-saving drugs

November 05, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Recovery from heart attacks is best served by continuing to take prescribed medications. Yet more than half of patients who have had a heart attack stop taking these lifesaving medications within three years, according to results from a Mayo Clinic study presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2007 in Orlando, Fla.

The Mayo data also show that in the short term, smokers are more likely to discontinue taking all of their prescribed heart medications, whereas in the long term, data show that patients enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation programs tend to continue their medications at a higher rate than patients who do not enroll. The researchers suggest their data support a two-pronged strategy for improving the public's heart health: 1) target heart patients who smoke for education on complying with physicians' aftercare advice about continuing medications, and 2) encourage all heart patients to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program, possibly increasing their likelihood of continuing prescribed treatments.

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

The study was designed to improve recovery and quality of life after heart attack by determining how well patients comply with physicians' recommendations. "It clearly documented that treatments exist that improve outcomes following heart attacks -- but patients need to comply with the treatment regimens for the goal of improved patient health to be realized," says Nilay Shah, Ph.D., the study's lead researcher.

By following patients at six, 12 and 36 months after a heart attack, the researchers discovered that smokers are most likely to stop taking their medication, placing them at increased risk for more heart attacks and complications, says Dr. Shah. "This suggests that current smokers may be a target group for education acute heart attack. Participation in cardiac rehab programs seems to be another important factor associated with long-term continuation of prescribed medication therapy," he says.

Patients discontinue taking medications too soon for a variety of reasons, including cost, says Veronique Roger, M.D., M.P.H., co-author of the study. More research is crucial to understand and resolve the barriers patients face as they recover from heart attacks she says.

About the Study

In their study, the Mayo researchers evaluated 292 patients, a subset of all the patients who were enrolled in the Olmsted County, Minn., registry of acute heart attacks. This subset also had prescription drug claims data available from another source. The team looked at long-term data (up to 10 years) for patients who had heart attacks and who were discharged from the hospital and taking ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and statins to help prevent another heart attack.

Results showed that:
-end-
Collaboration and Support

Other members of the Mayo research team are: Henry Ting, M.D., Victor Montori, M.D., and Amy Wagie. Their work was supported by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.

Mayo Clinic

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.