Silent Heart Attacks Common among Elderly Icelanders Skip to content

Silent Heart Attacks Common among Elderly Icelanders

A study of elderly Icelanders found that nearly twice as many experienced a so-called silent heart attack than one with recognizable signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath and nausea.

children-people-laugard_pkPhoto by Páll Kjartansson.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday September 5, are the result of an imaging study on 936 elderly Icelanders aged 67 to 93 by Dr. Erik Shelbert and his US and Icelandic colleagues, Science News reports.

The study found that 17 percent had signs of an unrecognizable heart attack: blood vessel blockage that scarred the heart detected via MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, without landing the patients in hospital. Less than ten percent of the participants had a recognizable heart attack.

According to the study’s authors, the research reveals that the latest MRI technology detects hidden heart attacks better than standard EKG (electrocardiography) testing.


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