Researchers working with the European Society of Cardiology report that the key to surviving a heart attack is strong legs.
Need some motivation not to skip leg day? Look no further. Researchers working with the European Society of Cardiology report that patients with especially strong legs are less likely to develop heart failure following a heart attack.
Myocardial infarction (a heart attack) is actually the most common cause of heart failure, with roughly six to nine percent of heart attack patients going on to develop a form of heart failure. Prior studies, meanwhile, reveal that having strong quadriceps has an association with a lower risk of death among patients with coronary artery disease.
For this latest project, study authors tested their hypothesis that leg strength does indeed have a link to a lower risk of heart failure post-acute myocardial infarction. This study encompassed 932 patients hospitalized between 2007 and 2020 with acute myocardial infarction. All of the patients did not have heart failure before entering the hospital, and did not develop heart failure complications during their hospital stay. The average age of these patients was 66 and 81 percent of the participants were men.
The team used maximal quadriceps strength as their indicator of leg strength. Patients sat on a chair and contracted their quadriceps muscles as hard as they could for five seconds, all while a handheld dynamometer attached to the ankle recorded the maximum value in kilograms.
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The study performed this measurement on each leg, with researchers using the average of both values. Strength was expressed relative to body weight, which means that quadriceps strength (in kilograms) was divided by body weight (in kilograms) and multiplied by 100 for a percentage body weight value. The team then classified each patient as having either “high” or “low” strength depending on whether their value was above or below the average for their sex.
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