Families of heart attack victims require emotional and practical support as they cope with the after effects of an attack, a senior nurse has warned.
The comments from Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, follow the publication of research showing that partners of people who suffer heart attacks are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety or suicide after the event.
The Danish study, published online in the European Heart Journal, shows that people whose partner dies following a heart attack are three times as likely to be taking antidepressants compared to the previous year.
The research found that those whose partners survive after an attack also have an increased likelihood of taking antidepressants - rising 17% compared to the year before. There was also increased use of anxiety drugs amongst this group.
Ms Talbot said: “A heart attack can impact the whole family and this study emphasises the importance of caring for the partners of heart attack sufferers.
“We know that people can feel anxious or helpless when a loved one has a heart attack. It is essential they receive the emotional and practical support they need during this often traumatic time.
“If you are dealing with a heart attack in the family, don’t feel you have to cope alone. Call our Heart Helpline to speak to a cardiac nurse or bereavement advisor.”