In France, there is a large north-to-south, decreasing gradient in case fatality rates of hospitalized patients for an acute coronary event. This gradient may be explained by differences in the presenting patients' clinical, biological and electrocardiographic characteristics.Goal:
To compare the characteristics of patients hospitalized for an acute episode of coronary insufficiency in three regions of France with contrasting fatality rates.Methods:
We assessed all men and women (aged 35-74 years) covered by the MONICA registries in three geographical areas (north, east and south-west France) and hospitalized in 2006 for a first acute coronary event. The symptoms, electrocardiogram features, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and troponin levels were systematically transcribed from medical files. Vital status was followed up for one year.Results:
Fatality rates at 28 days and 1 year were higher in the north (7% and 12%, respectively) than in the east (5% and 7%) and in the south-west (2% and 5%). Major symptoms (such as cardiac arrest, acute pulmonary oedema and cardiac shock), altered LVEF and ST+ myocardial infarction (STEMI) were more frequent in the north than in the south-west (all p < 0.0001) - pointing to marked inter-regional differences in the presentation of acute coronary syndromes (ACSs). In multivariate analyses, age, major symptoms, altered LVEF and STEMI remained strongly associated with 28-day lethality, whereas the relationship with geographical area was attenuated. Similar results were observed for 1-year outcomes.Conclusions:
The clinical, biological and electrocardiographic presentations of hospitalized incident ACSs differ from one region of France to another. These differences explain (at least in part) the 28-day and 1-year decreasing case fatality gradient in hospitalized patients from northern France to south-western France.