News | November 14, 2012

MRI Better Than ECG at Identifying Silent Heart Attacks

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more effective than electrocardiography (ECG) at identifying "silent" heart attacks, also known as unrecognized myocardial infarctions, according to a study performed by National Institutes of Health researchers and international colleagues. Overall, the study found that silent heart attacks are more frequent than previous studies have reported, particularly in certain populations such as older adults with diabetes. Silent heart attacks appear to be much more common than those with recognized symptoms. "Prevalence and Prognosis of Unrecognized Myocardial Infarction Determined by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance in Older Adults" was published Sept. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study involved 936 participants aged 67 to 93 years, enrolled in the Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study (AGES). Of the participants, 670 were randomly selected and 266 were selected because they were known to have diabetes. Because 71 of the randomly selected participants also had diabetes, the overall study population consisted of 337 people who had diabetes and 599 who did not.

Cardiac MRI indicated that more participants, both with and without diabetes, had silent heart attacks (21 and 14 percent, respectively) than recognized heart attacks (11 and 9 percent, respectively). ECG was less effective, detecting silent heart attacks in only five percent of the participants in both groups. Silent heart attacks identified by cardiac MRI were associated with a higher risk of mortality during the study period, while silent heart attacks identified by ECG were not. However, participants who had either form of heart attack were significantly more likely to die than those who had neither.

The analysis also found that people with silent heart attacks displayed many cardiovascular risk factors associated with recognized heart attacks, such as high blood pressure and evidence of atherosclerosis (a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries). Yet, fewer study participants who had a silent heart attack were taking medications such as statins or aspirin compared with survivors of recognized heart attacks (36 vs. 73 percent).

The study authors suggest that people who may have an increased risk for silent heart attacks, such as older people with diabetes, may benefit from following cardiovascular disease prevention methods, given the high prevalence of silent heart attacks and their association with increased mortality.

This study was conducted by researchers at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Aging; and the Icelandic Heart Association.

For more information: www.nih.gov

Related Content

Endologix Completes Patient Enrollment in the ELEVATE IDE Clinical Study
News | Clinical Study | February 06, 2018
February 6, 2018 – Endologix, a developer and marketer of treatments for aortic disorders, announced the completion o
12-Month Results from Veryan Medical's MIMICS-2 IDE Study Presented at LINC
News | Clinical Study | February 01, 2018
February 1, 2018 – Thomas Zeller (Bad Krozingen, Germany) presented the 12-month results from Veryan Medical’s MIMICS
LimFlow Completes U.S. Feasibility Study Enrollment, Receives FDA Device Status
News | Clinical Study | February 01, 2018
February 1, 2018 –  LimFlow SA, developer of minimally-inv
ESC 2017 late breaking trial hot line study presentations.
News | Clinical Study | September 12, 2017
September 12, 2017 – The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2017 includes several Hot Line Late-breaking C
U.K., NHS studies, weekend effect, hospital admission, atrial fibrillation, heart failure
News | Clinical Study | June 28, 2016
New research shows patients admitted to National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the United Kingdom for atrial...
stroke risk
News | Clinical Study | August 28, 2015
Most people assume strokes only happen to octogenarians, but recent evidence suggests that survivors of childhood can
Overlay Init