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‘One-third of heart attack survivors overlook risk of recurrence’
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.11.06 16:34
  • Updated 2019.11.06 16:34
  • comments 0

Amgen Korea has released findings from a survey on Korean heart attack survivors’ perception of cardiovascular diseases and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

The findings are the results of a sub-analysis of the Korea part from the global survey titled “LDL cholesterol and its relation to the risk of cardiovascular events.” The company conducted the survey in 13 countries.

Among 231 Korean heart attack survivors who participated in the survey, 162 were men, and 69 were women. By age, 130 respondents were in their 40s, 68 in their 50s, and 33 were 60 or older. Also, 160 respondents had experienced one heart attack, and 71 experienced two or more heart attacks. Among them, 100, or 43 percent, had high cholesterol.

The results showed that one out of three survivors in Korea overlooked the risk of recurrence, although they had experienced one or more heart attacks.

Asked, “how likely do you believe you are to have another heart attack?” 34 percent said, “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely.” Even among respondents with high cholesterol, 34 percent answered that it was somewhat unlikely or very unlikely.

Also, 22 percent of all respondents viewed their heart attack as something that happens only once rather than a result of a long-term chronic disease that requires ongoing management and continuing care.

The sub-analysis also revealed the inadequate management of LDL cholesterol, one of the most critical risk factors for recurring heart attacks. If the patient fails to lower their LDL cholesterol level to under 70mg/dL in one year after the event, the risk of recurrent cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, increases over twofold.

The Korean Society of Lipid and Atherosclerosis recommends very high-risk patients who have previously experienced a heart attack to reduce their LDL cholesterol levels to under 70mg/dL. According to the findings, however, only one out of five heart attack survivors (21 percent) recognized high cholesterol as a top risk factor for heart attack recurrence.

Also, only 41 percent responded that they monitor their LDL cholesterol levels after the heart attack event, and 57 and 55 percent of the survivors were aware of their current cholesterol level and target level, respectively. The survey further revealed that only 48 percent of patients were taking cholesterol-lowering medication, showing the survivors’ low interest in managing LDL cholesterol levels.

Survivors who responded that their heart attacks would only occur once showed a higher statistically significant tendency not to receive cholesterol-lowering treatment than survivors who recognized heart attacks as a chronic condition that requires long-term management (76 percent vs. 45 percent).

The company also found similar tendencies in survivors who were diagnosed with high cholesterol. Study results showed that only 35 percent of the survivors with high cholesterol (43 percent of all respondents) viewed high cholesterol as a top risk factor for heart attack recurrence, while 49 percent said that they monitored their LDL cholesterol.

“The survey showed that the situation needs to be resolved through communication between patients and healthcare professionals,” the company said. “Among all respondents, survivors who were educated about the risk of recurrent heart attacks were three times more aware of their LDL cholesterol levels than those who weren’t (65 percent vs. 23 percent).

Four times more of the educated survivors were also aware of their LDL cholesterol target level than those who weren’t (64 percent vs. 16 percent), while more survivors who were educated about the role of LDL cholesterol in heart attacks received cholesterol-lowering treatment than those who weren’t (52 percent vs. 32 percent), the company added

“The cholesterol perception survey conducted by Amgen this year was a good opportunity to identify Korean heart attack survivors’ awareness regarding the risk of recurrence,” Amgen Korea General Manager Noh Sang-kyung said. “The risk of recurrence is high for heart attacks and requires systemic management. It is regretful how many heart attack survivors of Korea overlook this fact, he added.

Noh stressed that his company would continue to endeavor to preserve the cardiovascular health of Korean heart attack survivors through effective LDL cholesterol management.


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