People who are fit are more likely to survive their first heart attack, a new study reveals, adding that low fitness may pose a risk of death following a cardiac arrest.
“The findings suggest that higher aerobic fitness before a heart attack is associated with better short-term survival after the first heart attack,” said Clinton Brawner, physiologist and researcher at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, US.
Doctors should include exercise when counseling patients about controlling their risk factors, suggested the researchers, in the study published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The researchers focused on 2,061 patients who suffered their first heart attack after the stress test, during follow-up. Mean time between the exercise test and the first heart attack was six years.
Patients with a high level of fitness during their initial stress test were 40 percent likely to die within a year following their first heart attack compared to patients with lower fitness.
Those patients who were more active reduced their likelihood of dying during the year following their first heart attack, by 8 to 10 percent for each level of increased fitness they had reached during the stress test.