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Intensive education programme reduces risk of second heart attack

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An intensive long-term secondary prevention programme lasting up to three years after cardiac rehabilitation reduces the risk of a second non-fatal myocardial infarction or other cardiovascular events, according to a report.

A study in Italy randomly assigned 1,620 patients who had a myocardial infarction to receive a long-term educational and behavioural intervention after a standard period of rehabilitation.

Results of this programme were compared with those of 1,621 MI patients who were randomly assigned to receive usual care.

The programme produced a 33% reduction cardiovascular death plus non-fatal heart and stroke, a 36% reduction in cardiac death plus non-fatal heart attack and a 48% reduction in non-fatal heart attack.

However the intervention did not significantly reduce the overall risk of combined heart events, which occurred in 261 patients in the intervention group and 295 in the usual care group.

Archives of Internal Medicine (2008) 168: 2194-2204

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