A study conducted by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, which was lead by Indian American Dr. Dhara Patel from Central Michigan University College of Medicine revealed that the number of hospitalizations for aortic dissection that took place between 2000 and 2012 was higher in the winter season than in the summer.
Aortic dissection is a serious condition where there is a tear in the inner lining of the aortic vessel and if left untreated, is associated with a high mortality rate of nearly 50 percent at 48 hours (NCBI).
The frequency of hospitalization per month over the 12 years was calculated and divided by the number of days to determine the mean hospitalizations per day for each month, with a total estimation of 6,199 hospitalizations.
“While earlier studies have shown seasonal variations for other cardiac conditions, this is the first time we found an impressive pattern of seasonal variation in hospitalizations in the U.S. specifically for aortic dissection,” Patel said in a press release.
“Our results show a notable increase in hospital rates in the winter, and now we need to work to truly understand why this is happening. It is our hope that by understanding the connection between colder months and aortic dissection, we can ultimately prevent future cases and help improve patient outcomes,” she added.
The results were similar for another study conducted by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarctions (STEMI), which was lead by Indian American Dr. Chowdhury Ahsan from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, School of Medicine.
a serious type of heart attack during which one of the heart’s major arteries is blocked, making it one of the leading causes of deaths in the U.S. contributing to about 735,000 American heart attacks each year (CDC).
The study, conducted from 2007 to 2011 showed that out of the total 827,196 patients, 595,452 were admitted during the weekday while 231,745 were admitted during the weekend and the results for in-hospital mortality rates ranged by month and showed patients admitted with STEMI having a higher mortality rate in winter months than in summer months.
Mortality rates in June to August ranged from 6.1 to 6.7 percent, whereas in December to February, mortality rates ranged from 7.2 to 7.6 percent.
“Our study is the largest of its kind to look at the effect of admission day/month on STEMI outcomes, and our results show a higher mortality rate in winter months. Patients included in this study transferred locations at some point while receiving care, which only stresses the vital importance of having an interconnected healthcare system to decrease mortality rates during winter months and deliver optimum patient care,” Ahsan said in a press release.
More research is to be conducted in order to understand the connection between seasonal variations, aortic dissection and STEMI, and to identify underlying risk factors which cause an increase of cardiac events in the winter.