A new study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine has revealed that quitting smoking after a heart attack gives quick boost to mental health and the quality of life.
Senior author Sharon Cresci of the Washington University said that even in people who smoked and had a heart attack, they saw fairly rapid improvements in important measures of health and quality of life when they quit smoking after their heart attacks, compared with people who continue smoking.
In the study, the researchers analyzed data from about 4,000 patients participating in several large trials investigating heart attacks and recovery. At the time of their heart attacks, patients were classified as never smokers, former smokers who quit before their heart attacks or active smokers.
Of the active smokers, 46 percent quit in the first year following their heart attacks. Cresci said the patients who quit after the heart attacks had an intermediate level of recovery but were markedly better than the active smokers, who fared the worst in the amount of chest pain they experienced and in their responses to questionnaires measuring mental health and quality of life.
The health improvements remained significant even when the researchers controlled for other factors that play a role in measures of mental health and general quality of life, such as pre-existing depression, other medical conditions and socioeconomic factors. Cresci emphasized that standard care for smokers who have had heart attacks includes offering support to help them quit smoking.
The study is published in the Journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes