21.06.2024

You’re more likely to have serious heart attack on a Monday than on any other day

Serious heart attacks are more likely to happen on a Monday than on any other day, research has suggested. Analysis of health service records shows the likelihood of a heart attack occurring is 13 per cent greater on the first day of the working week.

Researchers say it is likely to be due to increased stress as the pressures of working life ramp up after a relaxing weekend.

Doctors at the Health and Social Care Trust and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland analysed data from 10,528 patients across the island of Ireland — 7,112 in the Republic and 3,416 in .

They had been admitted to hospital between 2013 and 2018 with the most serious type of heart attack — an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) which takes place when a major coronary artery is completely blocked.

Serious heart attacks are more likely to happen on a Monday than on any other day research has suggested (File image)

Serious heart attacks are more likely to happen on a Monday than on any other day research has suggested (File image)

The researchers found a spike in STEMI heart attacks at the start of the working week, with rates highest on a Monday.

There were also higher than expected rates on a Sunday, according to the findings presented at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) conference in Manchester.

Scientists have been unable to fully explain the ‘Blue Monday’ phenomenon.

Previous studies suggesting heart attacks are more likely on a Monday highlighted an association with circadian rhythm — the body’s sleep or wake cycle.

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) there are more than 30,000 hospital admissions due to STEMI each year in the UK.

The attack requires emergency assessment and treatment to minimise damage to the heart, normally performed with emergency angioplasty — a procedure to reopen the blocked coronary artery.

Analysis of health service records shows the likelihood of a heart attack occurring is 13 per cent greater on the first day of the working week (File image)

Analysis of health service records shows the likelihood of a heart attack occurring is 13 per cent greater on the first day of the working week (File image)

Cardiologist Dr Jack Laffan, who led the research at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said: ‘We found a higher chance of having a serious heart attack on a Monday. This phenomenon has been described before across the Western world.

‘We know that heart attacks are more likely to happen in winter and in the early hours of the morning.

‘The same effect is seen in the event rate of strokes. Previous studies have also shown a higher rate of heart attacks in the days following the clocks going forward for daylight savings time.

‘The exact mechanism for these variations is unknown but we presume it has something to do with how the circadian rhythm affects circulating hormones that can influence heart attacks and strokes.’

He added: ‘It is likely to be due to the stress of returning to work. Increased stress leads to rising levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to a higher risk of heart attack.’

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the BHF, said: ‘Someone is admitted to hospital due to a life-threatening heart attack every five minutes in the UK, so it’s vital that research continues to shed light on how and why heart attacks happen.

‘This study adds to evidence around the timing of particularly serious heart attacks, but we now need to unpick what it is about certain days of the week that makes them more likely.

‘Doing so could help doctors better understand this deadly condition so we can save more lives in future.’

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