Tue, Nov 10, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Colder weather increases heart-attack risk: doctors

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The risks of heart attack and vein contraction increase as the weather gets colder, so people with cardiovascular diseases are advised to take any sudden chest pains seriously, and immediately visit a hospital emergency room for a check up, a physician said yesterday.

Society of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine president Wang Tsung-lun (王宗倫) said a 56-year-old patient with a history of heart disease was recently referred to an emergency room due to sudden chest pain, but as cardiac troponin T levels and electrocardiogram (ECG) examinations both showed no cause for concern, the patient was sent home, where his condition suddenly took a turn for the worse.

The patient returned to hospital and was treated with cardiac catheterization, Wang said.

Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics show heart disease is the second-most common cause of death in Taiwan, Wang said, adding that if people with a history of cardiovascular disease feel sudden chest pain, they should go to an emergency room within 20 minutes for a check up.

Wang said in addition to continuous chest pain, other symptoms of a heart attack might include sweating, nausea, vomiting, fatigue or anxiety.

Citing a study, he said the relative risk of one-year mortality is increased by 7.5 percent for every 30 minutes of delay between the onset of initial symptoms and the initiation of specific treatments, so fast and precise diagnosis is critical to treatment of heart attacks.

He said that while conventional blood tests can take up to six hours and cardiac troponin T tests take between three and four hours for results to be confirmed, advanced high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T tests can now diagnose a heart attack in about an hour.

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