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Jun 30, 2016

Cardiogenic Shock Increases Risk for Heart Patients

Study shows higher risk of death or rehospitalization in first 60 days after discharge; gap narrows after one year.

Some heart attack patients have a complication called cardiogenic shock, or very low blood pressure that lasts for more than 30 minutes. The condition results in inadequate circulation of blood throughout the body. Mechanical devices are often used to sustain blood pressure at a safe level.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology compared outcomes between heart attack patients who experienced cardiogenic shock and those who did not. The study found that shock patients have a higher risk of death or rehospitalization than non-shock patients in the first 60 days after discharge. By the end of the first year, however, the gap between the two groups narrows.

Researchers used data from the American College of Cardiology’s ACTION Registry-GWTG linked with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claims data. They examined records from 112,561 heart attack patients treated at 677 U.S. hospitals between January 2007 and September 2012. Of this group, almost 5% experienced cardiogenic shock during the initial hospitalization.

Researchers found that at 60 days, almost 34% of shock patients were rehospitalized or had died, compared with about 25% of non-shock patients. At the one-year mark, the difference was not as great: about 59% of shock patients were rehospitalized or had died, compared with about 52% of patients without shock.

After adjusting for patient characteristics, medical problems, hospital region and size, and in-hospital events and interventions, the study demonstrated that patients who survive to 60 days have similar outcomes, regardless of shock status. For both groups, factors associated with one-year mortality include older age, discharge to a skilled nursing facility, and the number of hospitalizations in the year before the heart attack.        
Rashmee Shah, MD, the study’s lead author, notes that since outcomes between shock and non-shock patients were similar after 60 days, “there is a need to address the vulnerable immediate post-hospital period.” She said that “future investigations should identify reasons for this pattern so that interventions could be tailored to improve early survival and identify the sickest patients, who may be better served with palliative care or hospice.”  
Read the full article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Questions for You to Consider

  • How are heart attacks treated?
  • Early treatment for a heart attack can greatly increase chances of survival and minimize permanent damage to the heart. Immediate treatment can include medicine, a minimally invasive procedure called angioplasty or surgery (coronary artery bypass grafting).
  • How can I reduce my risk for heart attack?
  • You can significantly reduce risk for heart attack by knowing your numbers and addressing any cardiovascular risk factors that you may have, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking. You can also help reduce cardiovascular risk by maintaining a healthy weight and heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly and controlling stress.


Tom Weiser is CardioSmart

Tom has had two heart attacks triggered by familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). He has become a vocal and educated advocate for his disease and a positive example for his four children.

David Wang is CardioSmart

A heart attack during a work event changed David Wang's life. After working with his cardiologist and cardiac rehab team, David now celebrates "the gift of perspective."

Don's Story: Cardiac Rehab

Don Fick suffered a heart attack while on vacation with his family. After his heart attack, Don made cardiac rehab a priority in his recovery.

Roger Johnson is CardioSmart

Cardiac rehabilitation helped place Roger on the road to recovery after a massive heart attack.

Kathleen Thompson is CardioSmart

Learning familial hypercholesterolemia runs in your family can be daunting, but Kathleen Thompson has found support from others living well with the condition.

What Can You Do to Prevent Readmission?

  • Understand why PCI was needed.
  • Follow all discharge instructions.
  • Take your medications as directed.
  • Schedule and keep follow-up appointments.
  • Ask about cardiac rehabilitation.
  • Commit to a heart-healthier life.
  • Communicate any health changes.