(Good Medical Health) – A Canadian study suggests that people who suffer a heart attack, stroke or heart attack are less likely to work afterwards, and those who do are less likely to work.

Survivors of sudden medical crises can experience a lasting reduction in their quality of life and their ability to perform daily tasks or perform professional tasks. For this study, the researchers examined hospitalization records and tax data from 2005 to 2013 to determine the evolution of patients' gains as a result of a major cardiovascular event.

All subjects in the study were between 40 and 61 years old, were working in the two years preceding the event and were alive three years later. The researchers compared the pre – and post – event gains for 19,129 survivors of heart attacks and 1.8 million similar individuals who did not have heart attacks, as well as 1,043 survivors. cardiac arrest and 307,375 similar individuals who did not have a heart attack and 4,395 victims of a stroke. survivors and 888,481 similar individuals who did not have a stroke.

The analysis revealed that, compared to people who had no cardiovascular events, 5% fewer people who had a heart attack worked three years later, while 13% fewer people who had a heart attack worked three years later, while cardiac arrest and 20% fewer stroke survivors were still working.

For survivors who are still working, earnings decreased by an average of $ 3,834 Canadian ($ 2,872.82) for survivors of heart attacks, $ 11,143 for survivors of cardiac arrest and 13,278 dollars for stroke survivors, researchers report in CMAJ.

"These losses in work capacity and income were more important for people with low income before the events, who had chronic medical conditions and who needed longer or longer hospital care for their acute health problems," said Dr. Allan Garland, lead author of the study. from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

"For those who are affected, the financial consequences of such health events go up to bankruptcy," Garland said by e-mail. "Losses of income can also trigger a series of events that can worsen health."

The effects on income were the most important for the patients with the lowest incomes at the beginning and for those with the longest stays at the hospital.

Reasons for limited work capacity or reduced earnings were not directly examined in the study.

However, with a heart attack, a reduced ability of the heart to pump blood eventually could limit a person's work capacity due to reduced stamina for physical activity, said Garland.

When a stroke limits blood and oxygen to a part of the brain, survivors could have problems eventually with a variety of things depending on the area of ​​the brain affected, Garland said. They may have difficulty with strength, coordination, vision or speech, which could limit their ability to work.

"The ability to return to work also depends on the type of work the person does," said Garland. "For example, a person whose work involves manual labor would probably be more affected by muscle weakness or shortness of breath than one who works in an office."

Financial difficulties following these events could also have an emotional impact on patients and contribute to poorer health, said Dr. Erica Spatz, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut , who did not participate in the study.

"More resources are needed to mitigate the financial toxicity associated with a heart attack or stroke," Spatz said by e-mail. "The financial toxicity or the loss of a person's salary affects everyone – first and foremost the person himself and his dependents, but also our communities and our health care system that end up in the end. account the cost of the deterioration of health. "

SOURCE: bit.ly/2AXTfZ1 CMAJ, online January 7, 2019.