People with mental health problems are less likely to be offered revascularisation, angioplasty or a bypass after a heart attack and have a higher chance of dying, research has revealed.
Some 22 studies were reviewed, showing that the chances of being offered a procedure such as revascularisation, angioplasty or a bypass after a heart attack or an episode of unstable angina was 14% lower among people with mental illness.
For patients with schizophrenia, they were 47% less likely to receive treatments.
Researchers also found that people with mental illness who experienced acute coronary events such as a heart attack had an 11% higher chance of dying than those who do not have mental health problems.
The research, which was conducted at the University of Leicester and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute in Australia, has been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
The report said: “One possible explanation is the physicians do not offer procedures to those with mental illness because these individuals have poorer uptake of care.
“Another possibility is that the needs of those with mental illness are crowded out by the focus on mental concerns or other medical factors which may lead physicians to think that procedures are not a priority in this group.
“There is also a question whether people with severe mental illness follow through with advice they are given.”
The studies involved research on more than 825,000 people with and without serious mental disorders.
Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This research reinforces the impact poor mental health can have on the risk of dying from heart disease.
It highlights the need for healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to care and to recognise that the state of someone’s mental health can impact on their decision-making about potential treatments.”
- Mitchell AJ, et al. Revascularisation and mortality rates following acute coronary syndromes in people with severe mental illness: comparative meta-analysis The British Journal of Psychiatry (2011) 198: 434-441