Heart attack: The dangerous symptoms that we do not suspect - Most people ignore them

One in four heart attack sufferers are at increased risk of death due to atypical symptoms that won't raise suspicion, new research warns

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One in four heart attacks will present with symptoms inconsistent with the typical warning signs such as chest pain, with unawareness likely to lead to death within 30 days. The new scientific finding is published in the European Heart Journal—Acute Cardiovascular Care of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, exhaustion and abdominal pain are atypical signs of an impending heart attack, according to research by Nordsjællands Hospital in Denmark. "We found that atypical symptoms appeared mainly in the elderly, especially women, who did not, however, notify the emergency department"said study author Amalie Lykkemark Møller, PhD candidate, about the great importance of patients and doctors immediately recognizing danger signs to prevent an undesirable outcome.

The study investigated the relationships between early heart attack symptoms, response from medical services and 30-day mortality according to all 24-hour calls made to a medical helpline and a separate emergency line in the Capital Region of Denmark for in 2014-2018. From the above services that record the main symptom along with the response, the researchers identified adults aged 30 and over who received a heart attack diagnosis within 72 hours of the call and separated them into two groups according to the main symptom.

More than three times the risk of death

During the five-year study, a specific initial symptom was recorded in 7.222 heart attack cases out of a total of 8.336, 72% for chest pain and 24% for atypical symptoms, with predominant Respiratory problems. Particularly:

  • chest pain it was more common among men aged 30-59 who called 95 and less common among women, who nevertheless contacted the simple helpline. 76% of calls to the emergency department and 30% to the simple medical support line were referred to emergencies, with 5-day mortality at 3% and XNUMX% respectively for the two groups
  • atypical symptoms were associated with higher mortality, 23% for those who notified the emergency and 15% for those who called the helpline. In addition, an ambulance was dispatched to 67% of the ED-only group and 17% of the simple medical support group.

However, the risk of death was shown to be more than threefold for the atypical symptom group compared with those who experienced chest pain, after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, education level, diabetes, history of heart attacks, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Specifically, mortality was 15,6% versus 4,3% respectively and, most likely, due to delayed assistance, Mrs. Møller estimates.

Commenting on the relevant findings, Mrs Møller referred to the nature of these atypical symptoms that make it difficult to suspect a heart attack, as these are conditions that are usually caused by other causes. "We hope that our study will raise awareness and inform mainly older patients and healthcare professionals about these atypical warning signs."He said.

Source: ygeiamou.gr