A surprising way to survive heart attack

Posted Feb 5, 2013 by Kathleen Blanchard
New research shows women and men of all ages are more likely to survive heart attack when they’re married or cohabitate.
Marriage or cohabitation may have benefits for surviving acute coronary syndrome.
Marriage or cohabitation may have benefits for surviving acute coronary syndrome.
The finding that is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology is the first to assess how marital status or cohabitation improves cardiac outcomes from acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Researchers aren’t certain why being single makes a person more likely to die from acute heart attack.
One reason might be that people whose health status is already poor may choose to stay single.
In the study, researchers compared rates of acute coronary syndrome and 28 day survival among married and unmarried men and women in four areas of Finland; across different age groups.
Our aim," said the authors in a press release, “was to study the differences in the morbidity and prognosis of incident acute coronary syndromes according to socio-demographic characteristics (marital status and household size)."
Over a period of ten years there were 15,330 ACS events. Half of people died from acute heart attack within 28 days.
The study found rates of death were highest among unmarried men and women, when compared to married men and women, regardless of age group or previous marital status.
The authors also say one of the reasons married and cohabitating partners are more likely to survive heart attack is because of early intervention.
“It may be assumed that resuscitation or calling for help was initiated faster and more often among those married or cohabiting," the authors wrote.
Another factor could be better adherence to medications like aspirin, beta-blockers, blood thinners and other medications prescribed after a heart attack for married people.
Past studies have shown marriage or partnering might induce healthier behaviors, possibly explaining better compliance with doing what the doctor advises.
The finding shows if you’re married or living with a partner you’re more likely to survive a heart attack. According to the authors, the study results can’t be explained by rapid intervention alone. Being unmarried or living alone could be an identifiable risk factor for dying from a heart attack, but more studies are needed.