The Exchange

Commentary and Observations from
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Caution: Population Is Having More Heart Attacks at a Younger Age

Caution: Population Is Having More Heart Attacks at a Younger Age

This March, the American College of Cardiology will meet in New Orleans for their annual scientific assembly, and one major discussion will be the growing percentage of younger patients who are having heart attacks at earlier ages. According to Dr Ron Blankstein, Harvard professor and interventional cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, patients under the age of 40 are increasingly having more MIs. In fact, Dr Blankstein’s data show that this trend has been increasing at a 2% rate for the last 10 years. While it is not clear if there is an exact reason for this, some experts suggest that substance abuse may play a part in this growing trend. In addition, patients who are experiencing MIs at early ages are also presenting with more cardiovascular risk factors, as if they were much older. This growing concern calls for better risk stratification and it may require starting new discussions to properly consider modifications to current guidelines. With the recent death of TV star Luke Perry at the age of 52 from a stroke, PAs and NPs must consider asking about risk earlier and more often. I have personally observed a trend of patients in their 20s and 30s presenting at hospitals with coronary vascular disease much worse than previously observed. When seeing patients in your office, consider this trend and work to improve your outcomes with proper patient risk stratification a little earlier.

  • Keshner A. More Americans under the age of 40 are having heart attacks. Accessed March 11, 2019.

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Filed under: Cardiometabolic

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