Heart issues could be a cause for increased suicide attempts, study says

A teenager sitting against a wall, looking sad and depressed

Reuters – People with acute coronary syndrome caused by poor blood flow to the heart may be at an increased risk of suicide – especially in the six months following their diagnosis, according to a new study from Taiwan.

Acute coronary syndrome, which includes problems ranging from a heart attack to a type of chest pain called unstable angina, has previously been linked with depression and an increased risk of poor health and death, the researchers write in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers had not thoroughly looked for a link between acute coronary syndrome and suicide, however.

For the new study, Dr. Chao-Han Liu of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Taipei and colleagues analyzed data on 41,050 people age 35 or older who died from suicide between 2000 and 2012, and 164,200 people who did not take their own lives.

In the suicide group, the rate of acute coronary syndrome was 2.5 percent, compared with 1.5 percent in the comparison group.

After adjusting the results to account for factors that may influence the risk of suicide, such as mental health issues and other health conditions, people with acute coronary syndrome were still 15 percent more likely to take their own lives than people without this condition.

The increased risk of suicide persisted for four years but was especially high immediately following the heart patients’ health scares. For these patients, the risk of suicide was three times higher during the six months after their diagnosis than it was for the comparison group, the researchers found.

The risk of suicide also increased with age and with frequency of healthcare system use.

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