Just when you thought that aftershocks from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 are already over, a new study has discovered that cardiac arrests in people ages 75 and older has been on the rise of up to 70 percent after the disaster. Researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that this health-related effect was seen affecting the population of the top three hardest-hit areas of Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi for more than a month after the incident.
Colleagues Dr. Tetsuhisa Kitamura from Osaka University and Dr, Taku Iwami of Kyoto University Health Service told Reuters Health that the said increase is to be expected. “Earthquake was well-known to be one of the risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest and acute coronary syndrome (heart attack),” they said. “However, little is known about the impact of earthquake on these diseases by age and sex, and in this study, showing the differences provides new insights on disaster medicine.”
They studied cardiac arrest cases recorded within a 12-week period that occurred outside a hospital using an ambulance-based registry. They checked records from four weeks before and up until eight weeks after March 11 in the years 2005 to 2011. During the period they studied, normal cases would be around 75 cases per week but after the quake, the number of cases spiked to 70 percent as opposed to the week before in the previous years and went even higher the following week of up to a 48 percent increase. The doctors did not include the factor of the nuclear accident in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. “The news might be a stress and affect the occurrence of sudden cardiac arrest, but in this study we did not aim to evaluate the impact of the nuclear accident,” said Drs. Iwami and Kitamura.
[ via Global Post ]