Posted on Aug 28, 2023, 5 p.m.
Recognizing and acting on heart attack symptoms is linked with faster life-saving treatment, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2023. (1) Symptoms can include but are not limited to: chest pain, dizziness, cold sweats, shortness of breath, feeling sick, loss of consciousness, as well as radiating pain to the arms, jaw, and neck. It is imperative to call an ambulance immediately to get treatment quickly to survive and make a full recovery.
“Patients with a repeat heart attack were more likely to know the symptoms than first-time sufferers, but recognition was low in both groups,” said study author Dr. Kyehwan Kim of Gyeongsang National University Hospital, Jinju, Republic of Korea. “Most patients could identify chest pain but less than one-third knew the other symptoms.”
This study was designed to investigate the associations between the recognition of symptoms, time to treatment, and clinical outcomes. The researchers utilized data from KRAMI-RCC (2) which is a registry of myocardial infarction patients that were asked if they recognized the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, cold sweats, radiating pain (to the jaw, shoulder, or arm), dizziness/vertigo/lightheadedness/loss of consciousness, and stomachache. Patients were classified as recognizing symptoms if they could identify at least one symptom, or as did not recognize symptoms.
11,894 myocardial infarction patients were included in this study, 10,623 were first-time events and 1,136 were repeat events of which 118 were excluded for one reason or another. The researchers report that 52.3% of the patients recognized at least some of the symptoms of myocardial infarction, 92.9% identified chest pain, 32.1% identified shortness of breath, 31.4% identified cold seats, 27.4% identified radiating pain, 7.5% identified dizziness/loss of consciousness, and 1.3% identified stomachache as being possible symptoms of myocardial infarction.
57.4% of the patients who identified symptoms of myocardial infarction received treatment to open the arteries and restore blood flow within two hours, compared to 47.2% of those who did not recognize any of the symptoms. Additionally, those who recognized symptoms had a lower in-hospital mortality rate, and those who could not recognize symptoms often had more cardiogenic shock as well as heart failure.
Only 14.4% of those with first-time myocardial events could identify symptoms. Among those with repeat events, 57.5% of the patients previously enrolled in KRAMI-RCC were able to recognize symptoms compared to 43.2% for those previously not enrolled.
Dr. Kim said: “The findings indicate that education is needed for the general public and heart attack survivors on the symptoms that should trigger calling an ambulance. In our study, patients who knew the symptoms of a heart attack were more likely to receive treatment quickly and subsequently survive. Women, older patients, those with a low level of education, and people living alone may particularly benefit from learning the symptoms to look out for.”
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References/Sources/Materials provided by:
(1)The abstract “Effect of symptoms recognition in patients with recurrent acute myocardial infarction: from KRAMI-RCC” will be presented during the session Risk stratification in acute coronary syndromes (1) which takes place on Friday 25 August from 13:15 to 14:00 CEST at Station 5.
(2)KRAMI-RCC: Korean Registry of Acute Myocardial Infarction for Regional Cardiocerebrovascular Centres.