Heart Attack Loves Monday

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe, and their impact on human health is a growing concern. In addition, fine particulate pollution in the air is a global environmental issue. A recent study published in the American Heart Association's flagship journal, Circulation, reveals that the confluence of extreme heat and high levels of fine particulate pollution may double the risk of death from heart attacks.

On what day of the week a serious heart attack could happen? Have you ever thought of this? Well, a group pf researchers say that Monday cold be that day when heart attacks happen more.

Doctors at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland analysed data of 10,528 patients across the island of Ireland. They were admitted to hospital between 2013 and 2018 with the most serious type of heart attack. This is known as an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and occurs when a major coronary artery is completely blocked.  

The researchers presented the study at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) conference in Manchester.  


The study found a spike in rates of STEMI heart attacks at the start of the working week, with rates highest on a Monday. However, they have so far been unable to fully explain why this “Blue Monday” phenomenon occurs. Previous studies suggesting that heart attacks are more likely on a Monday have highlighted an association with circadian rhythm – the body’s sleep or wake cycle. 

There are over 30,000 hospital admissions due to STEMI each year in the UK. It requires emergency assessment and treatment to minimise damage to the heart, and this is normally performed with emergency angioplasty – a procedure to re-open the blocked coronary artery.  


Cardiologist Dr Jack Laffan, who led the research at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said: “We’ve found a strong statistical correlation between the start of the working week and the incidence of STEMI. This has been described before but remains a curiosity. The cause is likely multifactorial, however, based on what we know from previous studies, it is reasonable to presume a circadian element.” 

Professor NileshSamani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “Someone is admitted to hospital due to a life-threatening heart attack every five minutes in the UK, so it’s vital that research continues to shed light on how and why heart attacks happen.   

“This study adds to evidence around the timing of particularly serious heart attacks, but we now need to unpick what it is about certain days of the week that makes them more likely.  Doing so could help doctors better understand this deadly condition so we can save more lives in future.” 


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