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Regional patients top cardio list

Middle Eastern patients with atherothrombotic disease have one of the highest rates of heart attacks and strokes, and one of the highest rates of death from the condition, compared with similar patients in other regions of the world, according to a preliminary analysis of more than 68,000 patients in 44 countries.

Middle Eastern patients with atherothrombotic disease have one of the highest rates of heart attacks and strokes, and one of the highest rates of death from the condition, compared with similar patients in other regions of the world, according to a preliminary analysis of more than 68,000 patients in 44 countries.

“We found that more 9% of Middle Easterners had died or suffered from a stroke or heart attack,” said Duke University Medical Center cardiologist Dr Magnus Ohman, who helped analyse an international registry of patients with proven or suspected cardiovascular disease.

3.58% of Middle Eastern patients had died from their disease, in comparison to 4% of Eastern European patients, and 3.37% of North American patients.

“Based on the data collected to date, we can say that adverse health effects due to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease are no longer afflictions solely of the Western, industrialised world,” Ohman said. “We are now seeing these diseases, and the death and disability they cause, spread to a significant degree to other parts of the world.

“These data suggest that heart attack and stroke represent an urgent international issue and are more prevalent than previously appreciated. The findings also raise the issue of whether or not the spread of Western culture is detrimental to the overall health of the rest of the world.”

The regional differences in health outcomes observed in the analysis are likely due to a combination of such factors as genetics, diet, culture and the overall quality of and access to health care systems in the various countries, Ohman said. He Future analyses of the patients enrolled in the study should provide more precise insights into which factors play what roles in determining health outcomes, he added.

Ohman presented the findings at the World Congress of Cardiology 2006, a joint meeting of the European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation held in Barcelona, Spain.The analysis is part of a four-year collaborative international project called REACH, for REduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health.

“The findings so far,” Ohman concluded, “emphasise the need for concerted efforts to reduce the increasing burden of atherothrombotic disease, both for those who have already had a serious event or those considered at high risk for a first event.”

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