A  A  A   Print
Post-Katrina Heart Woes Persisted at Least 6 Years

Post-Katrina Heart Woes Persisted at Least 6 Years

TUESDAY, March 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Six years after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the U.S. Gulf Cost, a New Orleans hospital was still seeing more than the usual number of heart attack patients.

The findings suggest that the stress caused by major disasters can linger long after more obvious signs of damage have healed or been cleared away, according to new research.

"Prior to Hurricane Katrina, about 0.7 percent of the patients we were treating in our medical center were suffering from [heart attacks]," said Dr. Matthew Peters, internal medicine resident at Tulane University School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "This increased to about 2 percent in the first three years after Katrina and continued to increase to almost 3 percent in years four through six after the storm."

Overall, Tulane Medical Center had 1,177 heart attack cases in the six years after the 2005 storm. These patients represented 2.4 percent of all admissions.

The researchers suggest that chronic stress and higher unemployment could help explain the disturbing trend. An increase in risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness and not taking medication as prescribed, could play a role as well.

"We found more patients without insurance, who were unemployed and more who had a previous history of coronary artery disease, showing us that the milieu of patients was a sicker population," noted senior author Dr. Anand Irimpen, an associate professor of medicine for the Tulane Heart and Vascular Institute, in the news release.

The study, published March 20 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, also showed the timing of heart attacks changed after Katrina hit. Many more heart attacks occurred during the night or on the weekend, the researchers revealed. They noted that hospitals usually see fewer admissions for heart attacks at these times.

More information

The American Psychological Association provides more information on stress after a hurricane.

SOURCE: Tulane University, news release, March 18, 2014

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.