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Causes and Predictors of Death in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease (from the Heart and Soul Study)

Published:September 29, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.09.006
      Although the prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the United States has increased during the past 25 years, cardiovascular mortality has decreased due to advances in CHD therapy and prevention. We sought to determine the proportion of patients with CHD who die from cardiovascular versus noncardiovascular causes and the causes and predictors of death, in a cohort of patients with CHD. The Heart and Soul Study enrolled 1,024 participants with stable CHD from 2000 to 2002 and followed them for 10 years. Causes of mortality were assigned based on detailed review of medical records, death certificates, and coroner reports by blinded adjudicators. During 7,680 person-years of follow-up, 401 participants died. Of these deaths, 42.4% were cardiovascular and 54.4% were noncardiovascular. Myocardial infarction, stroke, and sudden death accounted for 72% of cardiovascular deaths. Cancer, pneumonia, and sepsis accounted for 67% of noncardiovascular deaths. Independent predictors of cardiac mortality were older age, inducible ischemia on stress echocardiography, higher heart rate at rest, smoking, lower hemoglobin, and higher N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (all p values <0.05); independent predictors of noncardiac mortality included older age, inducible ischemia, higher heart rate, lower exercise capacity, and nonuse of statins (all p values <0.05). In conclusion, mortality in this cohort was more frequently due to noncardiovascular causes, and predictors of noncardiovascular mortality included factors traditionally associated with cardiovascular mortality.
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