Patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are at an increased risk of death by suicide, a new study reports. ACS refers to any case where the heart's blood supply is suddenly blocked.
Due to limited physical activity and abilities as well as an overall low health-related quality of life from an increased risk for heart problems, people who receive a diagnosis of ACS often soon experience depression and anxiety. Co-senior author Jung-Chen Chang, PhD, confirmed that in his study they “found the odds of suicide to be high among patients with ACS."
Chang and colleagues looked at a group of more than forty thousand people in the recent study, conducted in Taiwan. The participants were all at least 35 years old and had all died by suicide between 2000 and 2012. Compared to an even larger group of 164,200 with the same demographics who had not died by suicide, the researchers found that individuals with an ACS diagnosis were a whopping 200 percent more likely to die by suicide than others.
However, the researchers saw that number go down after adjusting for risk factors like mental illness. Even after making adjustments, though, individuals with ACS were still at a significant 15 percent higher risk for death by suicide.
Scientists believe that the findings from this study are applicable to other countries, especially the United States and other developed countries where acute heart attack is a leading cause of death and ACS “represents a significant burden on healthcare resources.” Plus, cardiovascular disease and depression both are common and severe causes of disability in “countries with advanced economies.”
"We recommend that healthcare providers take the increased odds of suicide into their evaluation of patients newly diagnosed with ACS," Chang said. "In addition to the existing efforts for managing depressive symptoms and reducing suicide, all cardiologists should be aware of the potential associations between ACS and suicide and make necessary referrals to specialists for suicide prevention."
Chang’s study was recently published in Journal of the American Heart Association.
Source: American Heart Association