Heart Attacks Worse For Some Patients

Heart attack patients with chronic lung disease face serious complications

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Heart attacks are serious health concerns. The treatment of heart attacks can be difficult and even dangerous when the patient has other medical problems.

Chronic lung disease is a common condition in heart attack patients. Approximately one in seven heart attack patients have a lung disease. These patients can have treatment complications that threaten their life. 

A recent study found that heart attack patients with chronic lung disease also have problems with major bleeding. Study authors suggested that these high-risk patients be treated with anti-bleeding therapies.

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Jonathan Enriquez, MD, of Division of Cardiology, University of Missouri - Kansas City, and colleagues led the study to explore the treatment needs of heart attack patients with chronic lung disease.

Researchers collected information from a total of 22,624 heart attack patients with chronic lung disease. These patients were placed into two groups. The first group had ST elevations on their electrocardiogram. The second group did not. An ST elevation is a finding that usually means there is a complete blockage in an artery leading to the heart.

Heart attack patients with chronic lung disease tended to be older female smokers who also had other heart problems.

The study also looked at heart attack patients without chronic lung disease. This group had a total of 136,266 patients. 

The study authors looked at several outcomes, including number of deaths from all causes, death from heart attack, cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure, stroke and major bleeding. They used these outcomes to compare the three groups.

Researchers found that heart attack patients with chronic lung disease had a 20 to 25 percent increased risk of bleeding compared to those without CLD. They also found that CLD patients with a non-elevated ST had a 20 percent increased risk of death while in the hospital. 

The authors commented that special attention should be given to heart attack patients that also have lung disease. This high risk group tends to have problems with bleeding and treatment should take this under consideration.

The authors also noted some limitations with their study. Determining the severity of patients' lung disease was difficult at times. Chronic lung disease was not specifically in the data, the researchers used the medical information they had to determine who had lung diseases.

This study, titled "Association of chronic lung disease with treatments and outcomes patients with acute myocardial infarction", was published in the American Heart Journal. It was supported by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The authors disclosed no conflict of interest.

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Review Date: 
January 13, 2013
Last Updated:
January 14, 2013