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Nearly half of elderly Mexican Americans who suffer a heart attack die of another heart attack within 7 years

Nearly half of Mexican-American elders who said they had suffered a heart attack died of another heart attack within 7 years, according to a study supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS11618). Preventing heart attacks is particularly important in this ethnic group to avoid early mortality, conclude Max E. Otiniano, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

In the study, they examined the heart attack incidence, prevalence, and 7-year mortality rates among 3,050 Mexican-American elders in five Southwestern States. They assessed sociodemographic factors, health factors, and self-reported heart attack during interviews at baseline (1993-1994), as well as new heart attacks in 1995-1996, 1998-1999, and 2000-2001.

Overall, 9.1 percent of those interviewed said they had suffered a heart attack at baseline. New heart attack incidence was 6.1 percent, 9.1 percent, and 7.9 percent, respectively, for the three subsequent followup interviews. Of the Mexican-American elders who said they had suffered a heart attack during the initial interview, nearly half (42.4 percent) had died of heart attack by the 7-year followup. Older age, male sex, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke were significantly associated with heart attack at baseline. Age was a significant predictor for new heart attack at each followup.

Having impaired function in activities of daily living, such as dressing or feeding oneself, nearly tripled the likelihood of self-reported heart attack. Limitations in carrying out instrumental activities of daily living, such as doing housework or shopping, more than doubled the likelihood of heart attack.

See "Self-reported heart attack in Mexican-American elders: Examination of incidence, prevalence, and 7-year mortality," by Dr. Otiniano, Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Ph.D., Kyriakos S. Markides, Ph.D., and others, in the July 2003 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 51, pp. 923-929.

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