While exercise is a well-recognised factor in the primary prevention of myocardial infarction (MI), little is known about the long-term effects on mortality from changes in physical activity levels in patients who have already had an MI.
To investigate this, researchers examined data on 22,227 patients in Sweden who had an MI between 2005 and 2013 using data from the RIKS-HIA, SEPHIA and Swedish Census registries. Levels of physical activity were reported 6-10 weeks and 12 months after MI. Patients were categorised as constantly inactive, reduced activity, increased activity or constantly active.
The researchers found the risk of death was 37 per cent lower in patients with reduced activity, 51 per cent lower among those with increased activity and 59 per cent lower among those who were constantly active, compared to those who were constantly inactive.
Lead author Dr Örjan Ekblom said the study provides additional evidence for healthcare professionals to systematically promote physical activity in MI patients. “Exercising twice or more a week should be automatically advocated for heart attack patients in the same way that they receive advice to stop smoking, improve diet and reduce stress,” he said.
The research was presented at EuroPrevent 2018.