Yale Scientists Warn: Common Heart Medications Linked to Greater Heart-Attack Risk During Hot Weather

Human Heart Attack

According to a new study, patients taking beta-blockers and antiplatelet medications (such as aspirin) are at high risk of suffering a heart attack during very hot weather.

For people with coronary heart disease, beta-blockers are important medications that can improve survival and quality of life. Likewise, aspirin and other antiplatelet drugs can reduce the risk of a heart attack.

However, those protections could backfire during hot-weather events, a time when heart attacks are already more likely. A new study published on August 1 in the journal Nature Cardiovascular Research found that, among people suffering non-fatal heart attacks associated with hot weather, an outsize portion are taking these heart medications.

“Patients taking these two medications have higher risk,” said Kai Chen, an assistant professor in the Yale School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology (Environmental Health) and first author of the study. “During heat waves, they should really take precautions.” 

Those safety precautions include cooling strategies like using air conditioning or visiting a public cooling center.

Air pollution, cold weather, and other external environmental factors can trigger heart attacks. There is growing evidence to suggest that hot weather can do so, too. However, epidemiologists are still working to identify which groups of people are most vulnerable to these environmental extremes.

Methods

Using a registry, the researchers analyzed 2,494 cases in which individuals experienced a non-fatal heart attack in Augsburg, Germany during the hot-weather months (May through September) between 2001 and 2014.

They had already shown in previous research that exposure to either heat or cold made heart attacks more likely. They also calculated that heat-related heart-attack rates would rise once the planet has warmed by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Built on that research, the current study examined patients’ medication use prior to their heart attack.

They analyzed the data in a way that let patients serve as their own controls. This was done by comparing heat exposure on the day of the heart attack versus the same days of the week within the same month. That is, if a person had a heart attack on the third Thursday in June, the researchers compared their temperature exposure that day to their temperature exposure on other, “control” Thursdays in June.

Two medications tied to risk

It turned out that users of beta-blockers or antiplatelet medications were likelier to have heart attacks during the hottest days compared to control days. Antiplatelet medication use was associated with a 63% increase in risk and beta-blockers with a 65% increase. People taking both drugs had a 75% higher risk. Non-users of those medications were not more likely to have a heart attack on hot days.

Although it shows an association, the study doesn’t prove that these medications caused the heart attacks, nor that they make people more vulnerable to heart attacks. It’s possible that they did increase the risk of heart attacks triggered by hot weather, but it’s also possible that patients’ underlying heart disease explains both the prescriptions and the higher susceptibility to heart attack during hot weather.

Still, one clue does suggest the medications could be to blame.

When the scientists compared younger patients (25 to 59 years) to older ones (60 to 74 years), they found, as expected, that the younger ones were a healthier group, with lower rates of coronary heart disease. Yet younger patients taking beta-blockers and antiplatelet medications were more susceptible to heat-related heart attack than older patients, despite the older ones having more heart disease.

Another clue that these two medication types may render people more vulnerable: For the most part, other heart medications didn’t show a connection to heat-related heart attacks. (An exception was statins. When taken by younger people, statins were associated with an over threefold risk of a heart attack on hot days.)

“We hypothesize that some of the medications may make it hard to regulate body temperature,” Chen said. He plans to try to untangle these relationships in future studies.

The results suggest that as climate change progresses, heart attacks might become a greater hazard to some people with cardiovascular disease.

Reference: “Triggering of myocardial infarction by heat exposure is modified by medication intake” by Kai Chen, Robert Dubrow, Susanne Breitner, Kathrin Wolf, Jakob Linseisen, Timo Schmitz, Margit Heier, Wolfgang von Scheidt, Bernhard Kuch, Christa Meisinger, Annette Peters, KORA Study Group and Alexandra Schneider, 1 August 2022, Nature Cardiovascular Research.
DOI: 10.1038/s44161-022-00102-z

The study appears online in Nature Cardiovascular Research. It was funded by the German Foundation of Heart Research, the University of Augsburg, and the University Hospital of Augsburg, Germany.

Professor Robert Dubrow was a co-author and Alexandra Schneider of Germany’s Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen was last author. The other co-authors were Susanne Breitner, Kathrin Wolf, Margit Heier, and Annette Peters, all of the Helmholtz Zentrum München–German Research Center; Jakob Linseisen of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and University Hospital Augsburg; Timo Schmitz, Wolfgang von Scheidt, and Christa Meisinger of University Hospital Augsburg; and Bernhard Kuch of Hospital of Nördlingen (Germany). Brietner and Peters are also affiliated with Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Peters with German Research Center for Cardiovascular Research, and Heier with University Hospital Augsburg.

43 Comments on "Yale Scientists Warn: Common Heart Medications Linked to Greater Heart-Attack Risk During Hot Weather"

  1. James C Marshall | August 3, 2022 at 11:55 am | Reply

    These meds have been shown to reduce MI incidence. Summer months beget greater activity and enhance risk of plaque rupture, double product ischemia. Sounds like more unproven green stuff.

  2. Fungible Title | August 3, 2022 at 1:27 pm | Reply

    Clickbait. No mention of specific medications, a general re-hash of information already known.

  3. Another nonsense “study”. Younger people on statins or beta-blockers/aspirin had more heart attacks in hot weather? Well, guess why younger people are put on those drugs? Is it because they have very serious conditions early in like, which put them at high risk of heart attacks anyways or is it because of the drugs they were put on. Medical people never learn: correlation is not causation!

  4. Your article indeed points out that it is not proven that these medications cause heart attacks. Yet your headline implies as much. What is the result here? My patients will have “done my (their) research” vis a vis your article and discontinue their medication. Unless otherwise trained it is common for a person not versed in science to distinguish between link and causality. A medication that was initiated based on research that did more than report “links”. The problem is that they don’t understand the difference. Congratulations, publishing this information may well lead to additional unnecessary morbidity and mortality among the lay population that believe that if something is published it is correct, proven, and therefore supersedes the advice given them by their doctor.

  5. Helen Morgan | August 4, 2022 at 8:58 am | Reply

    I take both aspirin and a beta-blocker. I definitely notice the heat and do restrict my activity on such days. This article just verifies what i already experienced. But i doubt people would stop taking their beta-blocker because of this article! I wouldn’t survive a normal day without it.

  6. Articles like this piss me off. Headline should read “People who are at higher risk for heart attacks take medications to prevent them but still have more heart attacks than those at lower risk for heart attack” this article corrects for age but there are plenty of risk factors other than age

  7. A better study would be heart issues and strokes after booster shots, definite increase in deaths especially in men???

  8. The study fails to examine the clear correlation between higher education and heart disease. A significant portion of those suffering from coronary ailments have terminal degrees which obviously proves that education causes arteriosclerosis.

  9. When u read a bunch of bs like this that wont get straight to the point (naming the medications) you should skip over this junk. Its a bunch of ignorance. People like this make me sick.

  10. Take down this article. It’s not scientific at all. The article it cites is trash and dangerous.

  11. Whats the name of the meds. That might help

    • Since an absolute conclusion was not reached, I think the research team should have advised people to use common sense and avoid unnecessary activity and travel during unusually hot weather. Use common sense!

  12. It’s important to have a path to blame for covid shots killing people. If we would just stop having highs and lows in life and just live without doing anything, stay inside, no emotional peaks or valleys, and just obey, following mother china,everyone will be easier to control. So be afraid every day.

  13. What 2Medicine .?.would like ti know

  14. Why don’t they just admit that the vaccine is the biggest reason people are having heart problems!

  15. Michael Johnson | August 8, 2022 at 9:47 am | Reply

    Utter scare tactics by another bunch of researchers the same type who scared the world with covid! Don’t drink don’t smoke don’t eat rubbish exactly what I did until a heart attack at the age of 49 whilst jogging now 61 I take everything they throw at me medication wise and lye in the sun have the ocassional drink eat fish and chips from time to time and have a cream cake to follow! We have to shut these useless People down stop giving them trillions to do work for the disgusting drug companies!I would now live the rest of my life doing a little bit of what I fancy we all doomed to heart disease as we get older simply because of the artificial rubbish and chemical in our mass produced food as I said I always followed the science of keeping healthy still had a heart attack my 2 dear brother followed the science of covid all 3 jabs both died In their sleep 3 months apart I call it murderedby the state as apparently they both had covid detected at their autopsy which apparently exsabated and hidden illness they may of had??? Death certificates adult death syndrome?? Lies same as this misleading report of life saving medication!

  16. Hey guys, us “experts” are here to convince you that the meds that have been being used before last year and all the activities that have been done forever like making your bed, taking a nap, ect along with lonileness are responsible for the ridiculous increase in clots n heart issues! Ignore the thing being pushed that lists clots n attacks as side effects cause the pharma paperwork on it is OBVIOUSLY conspiracy theory!

  17. Oh, the worlds heating up too. Thats the cause. We promise in the early 2000s the thermometers we use for weather around the world werent moved from park ranger stations to airport runways causing higher readings from the pavement that increase as they add more terminals and more urban building as time goes on!

  18. #BigPharmaNation $$$$$$

  19. Maybe. Beta receptors may be involved in dissipating heat via blood vessel dilation. Probably more of an issue with older ones like propanolol

  20. I’m inclined to think “what crap is this?” Most doctors and other highly educated medical people are as useless as tits on a snake. Both statins and beta blockers deplete CoQ10. That depletion is a likely underlying cause. Aspirin? What idiot would agree with that?

  21. Rebecca young | August 8, 2022 at 10:00 pm | Reply

    The drugs they are talking about statins are used lower cholesterol. If you take one you should read up on them. They some terrible side-effects. We have become so use to having a pill for every problem no one considers life style changes. That is the way drug companies want it.

  22. It doesn’t actually name the medications

  23. You don’t even mention the names of the drugs! This looks it was done to scare most patients that have no medical back ground. I do have a medical background in bio and and production and you are trying scare tactics!!! I also talked to several Cardiologist and all the ones I talked too said this is soo wrong.

  24. Monkey pox is mainly in gay men , oh no I’m so sorry for that community, they have suffered enough with aids just because they lay with other men

  25. Bulls**t fear monger you ought to be ashamed to publish this crap.

  26. Has this been a recent occurrence?
    Say the last year or two. And how many of them have gotten the vaccine for COVID-19?

  27. Jesus de Columbia | August 10, 2022 at 3:27 am | Reply

    No one is mentioning the ACTUAL reason for increased heart attacks in the year 2022 specifically. …which would be the same reason that overall deaths are up by 40% in 2022, according to insurance companies’ sources!
    What a farce…we all know the real cause, tho some pretend and hope it could be something else. Your article is nothing more than another attempt to hide the truth.

  28. This article is so true. My father died June 29 from a heart attack. During a heat wave. He was also taking heart medicine. But he died in his house when noone was there. That was the worst day of my life.

  29. Nicholas Perkins | August 10, 2022 at 8:11 am | Reply

    Poor article since not once do you mention the pharmaceutical name or examples of the “beta blockers” or “antiplatelets”. The savvy will Google it but 9 out of ten will go unaware of what you’ve warned of. Afraid of big pharm?? Bad articke!!!!!

  30. Diana Hall Wilson | August 10, 2022 at 9:08 am | Reply

    Would have been nice of you would have told what the medications are! This was not very helpful to me.

  31. Let food be your medicine. I am more healthier now than ever and I plan to keep it that way. My golden years are the best life that I have ever had! I can do so many things with my partner and family that I could not do before! I am drug FREE from all the damn prescriptions I used to take. I know everyone will not be able to do what I did. Get with a Natural/Alternative Health Professional and see how you can use food as your medicine…it is a process, but well worth it!

    Cheers to “Food is Medicine”!
    Hannah

  32. List the drugs, or do you even know

  33. I spent my time and effort looking at studies on Statin medications and found appalling results! I was given one that studies confirmed provided 1% effectiveness!! The list of side effects was unbelievable and yet this useless junk was passed and praised!!! So..who can ya believe/trust??

  34. Heather Thompson | August 11, 2022 at 7:12 am | Reply

    COMMN SENSE CAN REDUCE THE CHANCES OF A HEART ATTACK ! ALL THIS RESEARCH IS UNNECESSARY

  35. Elizabeth Rogers | August 12, 2022 at 5:56 am | Reply

    I heard that cholesterol is not the enemy,, it is calcium that blocks the arteries and in fact the higher your cholesterol numbers are, then the longer you live.

  36. Timmy too times | August 12, 2022 at 8:21 am | Reply

    Covid jab duh

  37. Correlation is not causation

  38. Yale just took millions from CCP. Don’t believe anything that comes out of this university. It took a Yale study to figure out more people have health incidents in hotter weather. Golf clap Yale, continue to be the self absorbing narcissists you are.

  39. Sit down shut up and do what the doctor tells you to do dont question statins and above all dont think for yourself and look to asia or india for answers. Oh oh the patient died a all to common result

  40. This article was a setup for a letdown. It implied ALL beta-blockers may contribute to heart attacks in general. In reality they are already KNOWN (by pharm co) to INCREASE your cholesterol [thus the “statins” combo], severity of asthma attacks (if asthmatic), while DECREASING the “signs” of low blood sugar [thus the diabetic meds to help keep it level]. No brand-names were mentioned because they likely were NOT studied by that specifc category…and there’re just too many out. Same with the anti-coagulants/blood thinners “parins” & “xabans”..
    How many in the study were taken ALL of these meds? Covid jabs…or no jabs?
    It pays to know your overall medical history, check for contraindications between prescribed medications, research the data so one can make an educated decision on what’s best for their OWN current medical situation. YOU are the best advocate for YOU & loved ones. Be Blessed 🙌🏾 Stay Safe 😷. Diva

  41. Premed Student | August 13, 2022 at 7:37 pm | Reply

    👎👎👎CLICKBAIT!!!👎👎👎

  42. Lol. No mention of what it is.
    Is there a chance this and the recent increase in deaths is actually related to the totally safe and thoroughly tested super special miracle sauce?
    Nah, it’s normal for teenagers and professional athletes to drop over of heart attacks. Also, S.A.D.S. is a thing now.
    Just keep getting sauced.

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