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JAMA. 1992 Jan 22-29;267(4):515-9.

Living alone after myocardial infarction. Impact on prognosis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, New York, NY 10025.



To determine if the presence of a disrupted marriage or living alone would be an independent prognostic risk factor for a subsequent major cardiac event following an initial myocardial infarction.


Prospective evaluation in the placebo wing of a randomized, double-blind drug trial in patients with an enzyme-documented acute myocardial infarction who were admitted to a coronary care facility. Data for living alone and/or a marital disruption were entered into a Cox proportional hazards model constructed from important physiologic and nonphysiologic factors in the same database.


Multicenter trial in a mixture of community and academic hospitals in the United States and Canada.


All consenting patients who were 25 to 75 years of age and without other serious diseases were enrolled (placebo, N = 1234) within 3 to 15 days of the index infarction and followed for a period of 1 to 4 years (mean, 2.1 years). Nine hundred sixty-seven patients were followed for 1.1 years and 530 for 2.2 years.


Recurrent major cardiac event (either recurrent nonfatal infarction or cardiac death).


Living alone was an independent risk factor, with a hazard ratio of 1.54 (95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 2.29; P less than .03). Using the Kaplan-Meier statistical method for calculation, the recurrent cardiac event rate at 6 months was 15.8% in the group living alone vs 8.8% in the group not living alone. Risk remained significant throughout the follow-up period (P = .001). A disrupted marriage was not an independent risk factor.


Living alone but not a disrupted marriage is an independent risk factor for prognosis after myocardial infarction when compared with all other known risk factors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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