Another Reason to Hate Mondays: Higher Risk for Severe Heart Attacks

TUESDAY, June 6, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Monday can be a downer as folks leave weekend play behind. Now, researchers say Monday might also be the most common day for deadly heart attacks.

Doctors at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland determined this by analyzing patient data in Ireland, though they can’t determine the reason why.

Past research has suggested it might have to do with circadian rhythm — the body’s sleep/wake cycle.

“Someone is admitted to hospital due to a life-threatening heart attack every five minutes in the U.K., so it’s vital that research continues to shed light on how and why heart attacks happen,” said Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation.

“This study adds to evidence around the timing of particularly serious heart attacks, but we now need to unpick what it is about certain days of the week that makes them more likely,” Samani said in a heart foundation news release. “Doing so could help doctors better understand this deadly condition so we can save more lives in future.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 10,500 patients across Ireland, in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, who were admitted to a hospital between 2013 and 2018 with the most serious type of heart attack.

The ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) happens when a major coronary artery is completely blocked.

The study found a spike in rates of STEMI heart attacks at the start of the working week, with rates highest on a Monday. However, they also found higher-than-expected rates of STEMI on Sunday.

In the United Kingdom, more than 30,000 people are admitted to the hospital with STEMI each year, requiring emergency assessment and treatment to minimize damage to the heart. Typically, this involves an emergency angioplasty, a procedure to reopen the blocked coronary artery.

“We’ve found a strong statistical correlation between the start of the working week and the incidence of STEMI,” said cardiologist Dr. Jack Laffan, who led the research at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. “This has been described before but remains a curiosity. The cause is likely multifactorial, however, based on what we know from previous studies, it is reasonable to presume a circadian element.”

The findings were presented Sunday at the British Cardiovascular Society annual conference. Findings presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on heart attacks.

SOURCE: British Heart Foundation, news release, June 4, 2023

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