A new study released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), examined mortality and access to cardiac care after heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction) in those with schizophrenia. Dr. Paul Kurdyak, Chief, Division of General and Health Systems Psychiatry at CAMH, analyzed four years of Ontario-wide patient data and tracked all incidents of heart attack among people with schizophrenia, and compared results to people without schizophrenia.
The study showed that the risk of death resulting from heart attack is higher in people with schizophrenia than in the general public. Results also revealed that on average, people with schizophrenia have a 20 year shorter lifespan than the general population.
This can be attributed to variables such as smoking, higher rates of diabetes, and metabolic problems triggered by the use of some antipsychotic medications. These factors are more likely to worsen after a heart condition is diagnosed because people with schizophrenia are less likely to implement necessary lifestyle changes, to minimize the problem. The solutions presented are two-fold in nature; prevention and aftercare are seen as critical to reducing mortality due to heart attack.