Monday, April 4, 2011
Post-Katrina heart attack rate three-times higher: Study
"New Orleans residents were found to have three times the rate of heart attacks four years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina than before the storm and levee break that flooded the city, according to a study presented at a major heart meeting recently. The three-fold increase had first been observed two years after the August 2005 hurricane and, much to the surprise of researchers collecting the data, it has persisted. "We expected a down-trend after four years," said Dr. Anand Irimpen, who presented the data at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting and continues to collect heart attack statistics as the six-year anniversary approaches. "We had some indication of Katrina's effect on heart health from our initial study, but it appears to be more far reaching than expected," said Irimpen, chief of cardiology of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. The data was based on patients admitted with heart attacks to Tulane University Hospital two years prior to Katrina, and compared with heart attack rates four years after the storm. In the four years after the storm, 2.2 percent of hospital admissions were due to confirmed heart attacks. Prior to the storm, the rate was 0.7 percent of admissions"