Mystery rise in heart attacks among young people

The Times, Scotland: 30 September 2021

A report in The Times says health experts have been left baffled by a big rise in a common and potentially fatal type of heart attack in the west of Scotland.

During the summer there was a 25% rise in the number of people rushed to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank with partially blocked arteries cutting blood supply to the heart.

Typically the centre, which is the largest of its kind in the UK and treats people from five health board areas, receives 240 patients a month suffering with this form of heart attack, but this rose to more than 300 over May, June and July of this year.

Doctors have searched for a pattern among patients to determine if less access to health checks in the pandemic or a history of Covid-19 infection may explain it but have found no obvious trend.

Mitchell Lindsay, lead consultant cardiologist at the Golden Jubilee, said: “There is not any evidence that it is as a consequence of any delayed care or missed opportunity. It is likely to be due to a multitude of factors: people being sedentary with lockdown; stress; people ignoring symptoms because they do not want to present at hospital. There are probably five to ten causes, all linked.”

Emergency departments around Scotland have reported a surge in seriously ill patients who require a hospital bed this summer. Shortages of hospital capacity have led to long delays in A&E as well as ambulances queueing at hospital doors.