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Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Simple stress test could help predict, prevent problems.

People whose hearts beat too fast during rest and too sluggishly during exercise have a greater risk than others of dropping dead suddenly from a heart attack, a study suggests.

The research, believed to be the first on sudden death in healthy people, relied on simple stress tests like the ones given to people with heart problems.

Experts said the findings don't mean healthy people should have routine stress tests. But when heart patients get the tests, doctors should study the heart rate pattern for signs of trouble and not just look for evidence of blocked arteries as most do now.

"We know there are people who are walking time bombs", said Dr. Michael S. Lauer, a staff cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic who was not involved in the study but who also researches stress tests and how patients fare over time. While there's no proof early intervention prevents premature deaths in such people, he said, "I would fix absolutely everything that can be fixed."

That would included putting patients on medicines such as aspririn and cholesterol, and starting them on an exercise program.

The study, in todays' New England Journal of Medicine, found the risk of sudden death was about four times higher than normal in men whose hearts beat fast while resting or did'nt speed up as much as they should during exercise.

Likewise,sudden death was twice as likely in men whose heart rates did'nt slow down enough in the minute after exercise ended, compared with men with normal shifts in their heart rate.

"It's the first time that particular heart rate patterns during exercise is associated with increased risk of sudden death" in healthy men, said lead reserachers Dr. Xavier Jouven, associate professor of cardiology and epidemiology at the European Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris.

Sudden death occurs when a heart attack, or sometimes an abnormal rhythm, stops the heart. It strikes people as young as their 30s and is responsible for 5 percent to 10 percent of all U.S. deaths, or roughly 350,000 to 500,000 deaths a year.

The results probably also apply to women, Lauer said. Recent research shows healthy women whose hearts don't slow down prompty after exercise are more likely to die of heart problems.

(Abstracted from Associated Press by: Linda A. Johnson)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:35 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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