Exercise post-MI reduces mortality risk
Becoming more physically active after a myocardial infarction halves the risk of dying within four years, according to research presented at the EuroPrevent 2018 congress.
Lead author Dr Örjan Ekblom (Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm) said, “It is well known that physically active people are less likely to have a heart attack (primary prevention) and more likely to live longer. However, we did not know the impact of exercise on people after a heart attack (secondary prevention post-MI).”
The new study included 22,227 patients in Sweden who had a myocardial infarction between 2005 and 2013. Data was obtained from the RIKS-HIA registry, SEPHIA registry, and Swedish Census registry. Levels of physical activity were reported 6–10 weeks and 12 months after the heart attack. The difference between answers was considered a change in physical activity over the year following the heart attack. On both occasions, patients were asked how many times they had exercised for 30 minutes or longer during the previous seven days. Patients were categorised as constantly inactive, reduced activity, increased activity, or constantly active.
A total of 1087 patients died during an average follow-up of 4.2 years. The researchers analysed the association between the four categories of physical activity and death, after adjusting for age, sex, smoking, and clinical factors. Compared to patients who were constantly inactive, the risk of death was 37%, 51%, and 59% lower in patients in the categories of reduced activity, increased activity, or constantly active, respectively.
The researchers recommended that exercising twice or more a week should be automatically advocated for heart attack patients in the same way that they receive advice to stop smoking, improve diet, and reduce stress. This advice applies to all heart attack patients as exercise reduced the risk of death in patients with large and small myocardial infarctions, and for smokers and non-smokers.
The study provides additional evidence for healthcare professionals and policy makers to promote physical in all patients following a heart attack. Further research should focus on types of exercise that may be especially beneficial.
Ekblom E et al. Increased physical activity post-myocardial infarction reduces mortality. Poster presented at EuroPrevent 2018. Moderated Poster Session 1, 19 April (Abstract 21) https://www.escardio.org/Congresses-&-Events/EuroPrevent/Congress