Income and recurrent events after a coronary event in women

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Strong evidence supports the existence of a social gradient in poor prognosis in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). However, knowledge regarding what factors may explain this relationship is limited. We aimed to analyze in women CHD patients the association between personal income and recurrent events and to determine whether lifestyle, biological and psychosocial factors contribute to the explanation of this relationship. Altogether 188 women hospitalized for a cardiac event were assessed for personal income, demographic factors, lipids, inflammatory markers, cortisol, creatinine, lifestyle and psychosocial factors, i.e. alcohol consumption, smoking habits, body-mass index, depressive symptoms, anxiety, vital exhaustion, availability of social interaction, hostility and anger-related characteristics and were followed for cardiovascular death and recurrent acute myocardial infarction (AMI). During the 6-year follow-up 18 patients deceased and 31 experienced cardiovascular death or non-fatal AMI. After adjustment for confounders, patients with medium and high income had lower risk for recurrent events relative to those with low income (HR (95% CI): 0.38 (0.15–0.97) and 0.39 (0.17–0.93), respectively). Controlling for smoking reduced by 12.8% the risk for recurrent events associated with high versus low income, while adjusting for depression decreased the risk for middle versus low income by 13.5%. Anger symptoms explained 16.7% of the risk for recurrent events associated with middle versus low income and 10.2% of the risk for high versus low income. We suggest that in women with CHD low income is associated with recurrent events and that smoking, depressive symptomatology and anger symptoms may contribute to the explanation of this relationship.

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