MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Many patients at risk for heart disease are not taking preventive medications, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis said patients who have a number of cardiac risk factors were rarely on primary preventive medications when stricken with an acute heart attack.
"For those patients with known coronary artery disease, 100 percent should be taking aspirin and 90 percent on a statin, but we found only 70 percent were taking aspirin and only 61 percent were taking a statin," study investigator Dr. Kevin Graham said in a statement.
Graham and colleagues assessed 1,174 documented acute heart attack patients -- 358 with known coronary artery disease and 815 without known coronary artery disease.
"Equally disconcerting," Graham said, "Were the 815 patients without known coronary disease -- half of whom had hypertension and slightly less than half had known high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. However, only 22 percent of these patients were taking aspirin and 16 percent were taking a statin."
The study was presented at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Chicago.