Patients with vascular disease have a surprising high rate of events like strokes, heart attacks, hospitalizations and mortality, despite the use of many medicines and other treatments, says study.
An international study has also shown that patients in North America, including the U.S., experience an above-average rate of such events.
While the highest rate of these events was observed among patients in Eastern Europe, the lowest was among those in Australia and Japan.
A presentation on the results from the international REACH (Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health) Registry was recently made by a researcher from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2009 in Barcelona on August 31.
The study examined data for 32,247 patients one and three years after they enrolled in the registry.
A European Heart Journal report on the study says that patients who had symptomatic vascular disease had a 14.4 percent rate at one year and 28.4 percent rate at three years of having a heart attack, stroke, rehospitalization for another type of vascular event or vascular death.
The report further states that patients with vascular disease in more than one location of the body had the highest event rate at 40.5 percent at three years.
When projected over the global population who would mirror the patients in REACH, this represents millions of serious vascular events occurring every few years, many of which could be prevented.
"We were surprised by the high rate of these recurring vascular events," said lead author Dr. Mark J. Alberts, a professor of Neurology at the Feinberg School and the director of the stroke program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
"We know how to prevent vascular disease and the events that it produces. This points to the need for better prevention, better use of medications and a need to develop more potent medications. These are the number one and two causes of death throughout the world," he added.
Many of the patients in the REACH study were taking the appropriate medications for their vascular disease.
"But that doesn't mean the medications worked or were being adhered to properly. Perhaps they need more or different medications," Alberts said.
According to him, this study shows the need for more patients to adopt healthier lifestyles with increased exercise, a healthy diet and smoking cessation.
The author points out that these are inexpensive approaches to reducing and preventing the occurrence of vascular events.