Patients who return to work after a myocardial infarction and work beyond normal hours are at risk of experiencing a recurrent cardiovascular event. These findings were obtained by researchers from Canada after analyzing data from almost a thousand patients.
Scientists write about the risks of long-term work after a heart attack in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Thirty hospitals in the Canadian province of Quebec provided data for the study.
The study examined data from 967 men and women aged 35 to 59 who returned to work after their first heart attack. The follow-up period averaged 5.9 years.
In 205 patients, repeated cardiovascular events were recorded – heart attack or unstable angina. Participants who worked long hours, 55 hours or more per week, had a higher risk of experiencing such events.
This regimen, compared with a 35-40 hour work week, increased the risk of a cardiovascular event by approximately 1.7 times. At the same time, the researchers made adjustments for factors such as patients’ lifestyle, clinical and personal characteristics, as well as sociodemographic ones.
As you move away from the standard 40 hours a week, the risks gradually increase. The effect also increased after a four-year follow-up, approximately four years after returning to work, and when working long hours and increased workload were combined.
Secondary prevention aimed at reducing work hours could reduce the risks of recurrent events, the researchers suggested. To improve the prognosis for people after a heart attack, they suggest that during follow-up of such patients, the duration of their work should be assessed.