Low Income Linked to Death after Heart Attack

Mayo authors examined medical records from 705 patients who were treated for heart attack between Nov. 1, 2002 and May 31, 2006. Researchers recorded the years of schooling completed and neighborhood income for each participant. Participants were divided into three income groups and three education groups. Researchers analyzed survival data across these different groups.

Among the 155 deaths recorded during the study period, one-year survival estimates across income groups were lowest for people with the lowest income. Seventy-five percent were survivors among people earning $28,732 to $44,665; 83 percent survived among people earning $49,435 to $53,561; and 86 percent survived among people earning $56,992 to $74,034.

Similarly, the survival rates were lowest for participants with less education. Sixty-seven percent were survivors among those who had fewer than 12 years of education; 81 percent survived among people with 12 years of education; and 85 percent survived among people with greater than 12 years of education.

"Interestingly, despite the higher-than-average socioeconomic status of this population, the associations of individual education and neighborhood income with death after heart attack were stronger than those reported in many previous studies," notes Mayo Clinic cardiovascular researcher Yariv Gerber, Ph.D., the study's lead author. "We think our approach of evaluating two different and complementary indicators of socioeconomic status allowed us to capture a wider spectrum of this complex theory."

Mayo researchers believe that the association observed for education could be related to education's positive effect on factors that include job opportunities, income, housing, access to nutritious foods and health insurance.

MEDICA.de; Source: Mayo Clinic