Reuters, April 15, 2011
After a heart attack, waiting at least 2 months before an elective surgery is linked to a lower risk of dying or having a second heart attack, a new study of Californians says. Patients who've had a heart attack should wait at least 8 weeks before surgery, said Christian de Virgilio, MD, professor of surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine. However, doctors "have to balance risk of heart attack versus the risk of delaying surgery," said de Virgilio, who co-authored the study published in the Annals of Surgery. In an analysis of outcomes for more than half a million people in a California hospital database, 16 out of 50 who had surgery less than a month after a heart attack had a second heart attack within 30 days, compared to 4 in 50 that waited at least 2 months.