Christmas in Bermuda

The Annals of Cardiology No.27 | Christmas in Bermuda

You can read the introduction below or read the full version here.

What will you be doing on December 24th at around, oh, let’s say, 10 PM?  In the last week I’ve been polling patients, and here’s some of their answers: A.V.: Just chillin’ with the missus and a nice glass of port. B.W.: Drinking Diet Cokes and watching the Hallmark channel with my dog. F.L.: Once I’m sure the kids are asleep, I’m assembling a swing set in the backyard – should take about 4 hours. Me? If all goes according to plan, I’ll be on the fourth or fifth course of an Italian Christmas Eve dinner, probably linguine vongole – pasta with clams – which is an acquired taste. I keep trying.

For some people, however, Christmas Eve may take a different course. This month the British Medical Journal published new data from SWEDEHEART – Sweden’s massive online cardiac data registry. Researchers examined 280,000 heart attack cases in Sweden over 16 years to see if they could identify daily, weekly, or seasonal patterns. They found a striking spike in heart attack risk during the Christmas season – specifically a 37% increased risk on Christmas Eve, 29% increased risk on Christmas Day, and 21% increased risk on Boxing day. The risk was especially high if you were over 75 years old, already had heart disease or were diabetic. Who knew Christmas could be so dangerous? The data revealed another shocker – when risk was analyzed according to time of day, most of the year’s heart attacks occurred just before 8 AM (and on Mondays – no surprise there), the exception being … Christmas Eve, where the peak heart attack time was 10 PM.

Continued in the full newsletter…

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