Hospital Admissions and Heart Attacks Rise After Snowfall Interview with:

Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC Montréal, Québec

Dr. Nathalie Auger

Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC
Montréal, Québec What is the background for this study?

Response: Snow shoveling is a challenging cardiovascular activity. Some studies suggest a link between snowfall and myocardial infarction, but use aggregate data which are limited. We used health data for individuals in the province of Quebec, Canada to analyze the association between snowfall and likelihood of hospital admission or death due to myocardial infarction. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that the quantity and duration of snowfall were associated with an increased risk of hospital admission and death due to myocardial infarction. The association was present in men but not women. In addition, risks were elevated regardless of age or presence of pre-existing cardiovascular risk factors. Compared with no snowfall, men had a 16% greater chance of hospital admission for myocardial infarction after a snowfall of 20 cm, and a 34% greater chance of death. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: In regions with high snowfall, individuals should be aware that the chance of myocardial infarction is greater after a snowfall. The risk of myocardial infarction is probably related to shoveling of snow. Men in particular should be informed of the possibility of myocardial infarction, and be cautious when shoveling after snowfalls. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We carried out this study in a province with heavy snowfall during winter. More research is needed to determine if the risk is also elevated in areas with less snowfall. With changing climate patterns, closer monitoring of snowfalls and the cardiovascular implications may be merited.

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Association between quantity and duration of snowfall and risk of myocardial infarction

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Last Updated on February 14, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD