“Between 2011 and 2022, heart attack admissions increased by five times, and patients belonging to the 40-50 age group increased by 33% in the same period,” said Dr Gore, who heads the emergency room (ER) at Fortis Hospital, Mulund.
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As his data pertains to one hospital, Dr Gore wants the government to study the trend of heart attack deaths among younger Indians; actor Nitesh Pandey passed away at 51 last week. “In 2018, we got 117 heart attack patients coming to the ER, but the number went up 70% to 201 in post-Covid 2022,” he said. Dr Prafulla Kerkar, professor emeritus in cardiology at KEM Hospital, Parel, said the biggest worry in Mumbai is that the age of onset of heart problems is getting younger as compared to say two decades back. He blames rapid urbanisation, less physical activity and poor diet for the trend.
“Out of 312 people coming into our ER with heart attacks in 2022, 71 (23%) needed a primary angioplasty as they had 100% blockage in either one or more blood vessels,” said cardiologist Dr Sameer Pagad. In 2019, only 36 out of 283 or 13% needed primary angioplasty.
According to Dr Sanjith Saseedharan, head of critical care at SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim: “The incidence of heart attacks has gone up in ages less than 45 years.” His ER data shows that 18% of all ER cases in 2022 were due to myocardial infarction or heart attack as compared to 6% of all the 2019 cases.
However, BMC’s death registry doesn’t show any shocking increase in heart attack deaths: heart attack deaths rose from 8,601 in 2018 to 10,683 in 2021 and dropped to 9,470 deaths in 2022.
Senior cardiologist Dr Rajeev Bhagwat from Nanavati Hospital, Juhu, blames the “lack of sleep” epidemic. “Although 40% of the last 20 angioplasties I performed were on younger people, heart attacks are not about age.Heart attacks are about lifestyle choices,” he said.