Mortality caused by myocardial infarction has decreased by 44% over the last 15 years in Argentina, according to new research which presented at the 38th Argentine Congress of Cardiology (5–7 October 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina). The results from the SCAR registry (Registro de Síndromes Coronarios Agudos en Argentina; Argentine Registry of Acute Coronary Syndromes) were presented by Ricardo Villarreal.
The 38th Argentine Congress of Cardiology is organised by the Argentine Society of Cardiology, which is an affiliated member of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC presented a full day of scientific sessions at the event, as part of its Global Scientific Activities (GSA) programme. ESC past-president Michel Komajda led the European delegation.
Myocardial infarction remains one of the top causes of death in Argentina. According to results from the SCAR registry, the mortality rate of patients hospitalised because of acute myocardial infarction has dropped by 44% in the last 15 years, from 11.3% to 6.4%. The SCAR registry compared data from 733 patients in 47 centres in Argentina that participated in both registries of 1996 and 2011. The analysis was made using identical criteria for the definition of myocardial infarction and coronary risk factors in both registries.
The registry also showed that there were 55% fewer smokers in 2011 compared to 1996. But over that 15 year period there was a 30% increase in patients with high cholesterol levels and a 53% increase in patients with background hypertension.
Villarreal said: “In the last 15 years we have seen a dramatic decrease in smoking in patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction. This coincides with a moderate decrease in smoking habits in Argentina.”
In 2011 a higher proportion of patients had previous infarction and coronary interventions (angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery). In 2011 there was also an increase in patients previously treated with aspirin, betablockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and statins.
The study also found a substantial reduction (59%) in mortality in the group of patients that were reperfused. Although there was no increase in the total number of patients who received reperfusion treatment, in eligible patients with ST segment elevation the rate of reperfusion increased from 65% to 85%. There was a higher use of primary or direct coronary angioplasty, aspirin, betablockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and statins.
Villarreal said: “Results from the SCAR registry show that treatment for myocardial infarction in Argentina has improved over the past 15 years, with greater use of recommended treatments and medications. Clinicians should now focus their efforts on facilitating the access of patients with acute myocardial infarction to rapid reperfusion therapy and on extending the benefits of evidence based therapies to all patients.”
Jorge A Belardi, president-elect 2013 of the Argentine Society of Cardiology and president of the Scientific Committee of the 38th Argentine Congress of Cardiology, said: “The Argentine Society of Cardiology is committed to working to reduce cardiovascular mortality in our country. Our priorities will be primary prevention, working directly with the community, the government and the food industry. We will also focus on continuous medical education, with high adherence to medical guidelines, among other policies.”
Komajda said: “Cardiovascular disease is a global challenge. The ESC is proud to be working with its affiliate societies to spread key prevention messages. The ESC’s Global Scientific Activities project aims to create a truly international cardiology community and to build on our history of successful cooperation with national societies beyond Europe.”
The congress follows the launch of the Argentine Foundation of Cardiology campaign “El corazón de una mujer puede romperse EN SERIO” (A woman’s heart can be broken SERIOUSLY). Women with heart disease seek medical help two hours later than men on average. The campaign aims to increase awareness of the problem of heart disease in women so that they receive earlier and better access to treatment and adopt heart healthy behaviours. Under the artistic direction of photographer Andy Cherniasvsky, the campaign will display photos and videos of local celebrities, plus a heart attack survivor, on public streets and television stations across Argentina.