[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 22, 1992

Living Alone After Myocardial InfarctionImpact on Prognosis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, St Luke's Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY (Dr R. B. Case); Departments of Medicine and Preventive Community Medicine and the Division of Biostatistics, University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry (Drs Moss and McDermott and Ms Eberly); and Department of Psychiatry, North Shore University Hospital-Cornell University Medical College, Manhasset, NY (Dr N. Case).

JAMA. 1992;267(4):515-519. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480040063031

Objective.  —To determine if the presence of a disrupted marriage or living alone would be an independent prognostic risk factor for a subsequent major cardiac event following an initial myocardial infarction.

Design.  —Prospective evaluation in the placebo wing of a randomized, double-blind drug trial in patients with an enzyme-documented acute myocardial infarction who were admitted to a coronary care facility. Data for living alone and/or a marital disruption were entered into a Cox proportional hazards model constructed from important physiologic and nonphysiologic factors in the same database.

Setting.  —Multicenter trial in a mixture of community and academic hospitals in the United States and Canada.

Patients.  —All consenting patients who were 25 to 75 years of age and without other serious diseases were enrolled (placebo, N = 1234) within 3 to 15 days of the index infarction and followed for a period of 1 to 4 years (mean, 2.1 years). Nine hundred sixty-seven patients were followed for 1.1 years and 530 for 2.2 years.

Primary Outcome Measure.  —Recurrent major cardiac event (either recurrent nonfatal infarction or cardiac death).

Results.  —Living alone was an independent risk factor, with a hazard ratio of 1.54 (95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 2.29; P<.03). Using the Kaplan-Meier statistical method for calculation, the recurrent cardiac event rate at 6 months was 15.8% in the group living alone vs 8.8% in the group not living alone. Risk remained significant throughout the follow-up period (P=.001). A disrupted marriage was not an independent risk factor.

Conclusion.  —Living alone but not a disrupted marriage is an independent risk factor for prognosis after myocardial infarction when compared with all other known risk factors.(JAMA. 1992;267:515-519)