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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2001 October;49(5):289-96

language: Italian

Time of onset of symptoms of acute myocardial infarction

Trappolini M., Matteoli S., Borgia M. C., Rinaldi R., Chillotti F. M., Trappolini F., Del Vecchio R. L., Puletti M.


Background. Several studies have observed a circadian pattern in the onset of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), with a peak incidence in the morning hours. It has been suggested that different circadian rhythms may exist in various subgroups of patients.
Methods. This study sought to determine whether the circadian incidence of AMI varied by sex, age, cardiovascular risk factors, previous history of ischemic accidents, the site of AMI, and the short-term outcome. These possibilities were examined in a population of 597 consecutive patients with AMI, admitted to the coronary care unit. 548 patients have been included in the study, 442 men (80.6%) and 106 women (19.4%); mean age 64.5 years.
Rsults. A peak incidence of AMI was found between 06.01 a.m. and 12.00 a.m. (32.4%; p<0.0002). This peak was present in patients 65 years old (33.2%; p<0.005), in men (32.5%; p<0.0002) but not in women, in smokers (32.1%; p<0.0005) and in those that did not smoke (33.0%; p<0.04), in patients with hypercholesterolemia (34.9%; p<0.006 ) and without hypercholesterolemia (31.1%; p<0.03). A circadian rhythm was absent in diabetics, hypertensives and in patients with a history of previous cardiovascular events. Regarding the site of AMI, inferior AMI showed an increased incidence between 06.01 a.m. and 12.00 a.m. (36.2%; p<0.002), while the circadian distribution of anterior AMI, as well as non-Q wave AMI, did not show this incidence. Finally, higher mortality was reported in patients with an AMI onset at night (22.3%).
Conclusions. These results give further clues in understanding the external and inner factors acting in the morning hours as triggers for AMI.

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