Clues to Heart Attack, Stroke Risk From Fat-Filled Artery
A number of factors put patients with abnormal fatty deposits in an artery at high risk for heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death, a new study shows.
Patients in various stages of this condition -- atherothrombosis -- are at increased risk for heart attack and stroke stemming from reduced blood flow from the artery blockage, but some are at greater risk than others. In an analysis of more than 45,000 patients, the researchers found that patients with abnormal fatty deposits in an artery were at highest risk if they had a prior history of heart attack or other emergencies linked to an artery blockage.
Narrowing of the arteries in various locations also substantially increased the risk for patients with atherothrombosis, as did diabetes for all the patients -- even those with only the risk factors for atherothrombosis.
Knowing that these factors boost the risk can help physicians take preventive action, according to the researchers, who are from the VA Boston Healthcare System, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
The researchers analyzed data from 45,227 patients enrolled in an international study known as Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health (REACH) between 2003 and 2004. They collected detailed information from the patients when they enrolled and conducted follow-ups one, two, three and four years later.
National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.