Heart disease patients without spouses at higher risk of dying

Patients with heart disease who are not married are at a higher risk of dying than heart patients with spouses, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

For the study, researchers enrolled more than 6,000 patients who underwent cardiac catheterization for coronary artery disease at Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare hospitals from 2003 to 2015. Researchers tracked the patients for 3.7 years and recorded their health outcomes. More than 1,000 of the participants died over the course of the study.

Analysis revealed unmarried patients carried a 24 percent higher risk of death from any cause, a 45 percent higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 52 percent higher risk of dying from a heart attack.

"I was somewhat surprised by the magnitude of the influence of being married has (on heart patients)," said Arshed Quyyumi, MD, lead researcher, co-director of Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute and professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta. "Social support provided by marriage, and perhaps many other benefits of companionship, are important for people with heart disease."

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