Study finds link between internal bleeding post heart attack and cancer

Scientists have shown a possible link between internal bleeding post heart attack and cancer.

According to a study, bleeding during the first six months after discharge from hospital for a heart attack is linked with a subsequent cancer diagnosis. After patients are discharged from hospital for an acute coronary syndrome—heart attack or unstable angina they are typically treated with dual antiplatelet therapy for around one year to inhibit the formation of blood clots but there is an increased risk of bleeding.

For the study, the researchers retrospectively reviewed the hospital records of 3,644 acute coronary syndrome patients discharged with dual antiplatelet therapy from Alvaro Cunqueiro Hospital.

Patients were followed-up for a median of 56.2 months for bleeding events and cancer.

The researchers analysed associations between bleeding and the absolute risk of a new cancer diagnosis.

Bleeding occurred in 1,215 patients—33 per cent during follow-up and 227 patients (6 per cent) had a new diagnosis of cancer.

After adjustment for factors known to influence bleeding or cancer, post-discharge bleeding was associated with a threefold higher risk of a new cancer diagnosis.

The median time from bleeding to cancer was 4.6 months. The link with cancer increased as the severity of bleeding worsened.

Spontaneous bleeding with no apparent cause was linked with four times higher risk of a cancer diagnosis.


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