New research from the University of Leicester in the UK examines the high level of mortality after a coronary event in people with mental health issues. The University, in collaboration with the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute in Australia, collected data from 22 studies that involved over 800,000 patients with and without mental challenges. They found that those with mental health issues had a significantly higher mortality rate after a coronary event. Alex J. Mitchell, of the University of Leicester, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Leicestershire Partnership Trust, and lead researcher, said, “Those with a diagnosis of severe mental illness were 14% less likely to receive essential coronary care procedures following their heart attack. Such procedures include coronary artery bypass graft and coronary angioplasty which have been credited with improving outcomes after heart disease in the general population. In 10 studies that specifically addressed care for people with schizophrenia, those with the disease received only half the interventions offered to those without schizophrenia.”
Miller went on to reveal that other studies found that those with psychiatric health problems had an 11% higher mortality rate in the 12 months following a coronary event than those without any history of psychiatric difficulty. Mitchell added, “People with known mental health conditions have higher background rates of cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, inactivity, and obesity. We already know that this is reflected in a higher rate of heart disease but what we demonstrate here is that mortality is greater even after patients come under health care. We don’t yet know the reason for these poorer outcomes but it is worrying that we also find such patients may receive less frequent life-saving interventions. Patients with significant mental health problems can be considered a vulnerable group who should be receiving at least equal and possibly enhanced care.” Mitchell concluded by saying, “We urgently need to know whether patients are declining treatment or whether clinicians are not offering treatment to an equal degree.”
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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