When Heart Attacks Are Silent

Silent heart attacks may increase risk of death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Many heart attacks may be "silent," a new study found.

And although these silent heart attacks don't present with classic symptoms — chest pain, cold sweats and shortness of breath — they can be just as dangerous, according to the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers behind this study.

Silent heart attacks occur when blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced or blocked.

The authors of this study, published recently in the journal Circulation, looked at the health records of 9,498 adults and followed participants for more than two decades. During a follow-up at around the nine-year mark, these researchers identified 703 heart attacks in these patients. Nearly half (317) of those attacks were silent.

Having a silent heart attack was tied to a 34 percent increased risk of dying from all causes, these researchers found.

The study authors pointed out that, because silent heart attacks aren't as easily identifiable as other heart attacks, patients may not receive the proper treatment to help prevent future heart problems.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
May 14, 2016
Last Updated:
May 16, 2016