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Open Access Research article

One-year health status outcomes of unstable angina versus myocardial infarction: a prospective, observational cohort study of ACS survivors

Thomas M Maddox1*, Kimberly J Reid2, John S Rumsfeld1 and John A Spertus23

Author Affiliations

1 Denver VAMC/University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, CO, USA

2 Mid America Heart Institute of Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO, USA

3 University of Missouri – Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, USA

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2007, 7:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-7-28

Published: 12 September 2007



Unstable angina (UA) patients have lower mortality and reinfarction risks than ST-elevation (STEMI) or non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) patients and, accordingly, receive less aggressive treatment. Little is known, however, about the health status outcomes (angina, physical function, and quality of life) of UA versus MI patients among survivors of an ACS hospitalization.


In a cohort of 1,192 consecutively enrolled ACS survivors from two Kansas City hospitals, we evaluated the associations between ACS presentation (UA, NSTEMI, and STEMI) and one-year health status (angina, physical functioning and quality of life), one-year cardiac rehospitalization rates, and two-year mortality outcomes, using multivariable regression modeling.


After multivariable adjustment for demographic, hospital, co-morbidity, baseline health status, and treatment characteristics, UA patients had a greater prevalence of angina at 1 year than STEMI patients (adjusted relative risk [RR] = 1.42; 95% CI [1.06, 1.90]) and similar rates as NSTEMI patients (adjusted RR = 1.1; 95% CI [0.85, 1.42]). In addition, UA patients fared no better than MI patients in Short Form-12 physical component scores (UA vs. STEMI score difference -0.05 points; 95% CI [-2.41, 2.3]; UA vs. NSTEMI score difference -1.91 points; 95% CI [-4.01, 0.18]) or Seattle Angina Questionnaire quality of life scores (UA vs. STEMI score difference -1.39 points; 95% CI [-5.63, 2.85]; UA vs. NSTEMI score difference -0.24 points 95% CI [-4.01, 3.54]). Finally, UA patients had similar rehospitalization rates as MI patients (UA vs. STEMI adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.31; 95% CI [0.86, 1.99]; UA vs. NSTEMI adjusted HR = 1.03; 95% CI [0.73, 1.47]), despite better 2-year survival (UA vs. STEMI adjusted HR = 0.51; 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.28, 0.95]; UA vs. NSTEMI adjusted HR = 0.40; 95% CI [0.24, 0.65]).


Although UA patients have better survival rates, they have similar or worse one-year health status outcomes and cardiac rehospitalization rates as compared with MI patients. Clinicians should be aware of the adverse health status outcome risks for UA patients and consider close monitoring for the opportunity to improve their health status and minimize the need for subsequent rehospitalization.