HealthDay News — Patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) may face a higher-than-normal risk of suicide, according to a study published online December 7 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The findings are based on government data for 41,050 Taiwanese adults who died by suicide between 2000 and 2012. These cases were compared with 164,200 adults with similar demographics. ACS was more common among patients who died by suicide: 2.5% had been diagnosed with ACS versus 1.5% of the comparison group, the researchers said. 

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In general, patients with a history of depression or other psychiatric disorders were at higher suicide risk, as were individuals in poor physical health. Single people were also at greater risk than those who were married. With adjustment for those factors, ACS was still tied to a 15% increase in suicide risk. In addition, the findings showed that risk was greatest in the first six months after diagnosis, when ACS patients had a three-fold higher suicide risk.

Suicidal behavior is “complicated,” and it’s possible there are other explanations for the link with heart disease, researcher Jung-Chen Chang, PhD, an assistant professor at National Taiwan University’s College of Medicine in Taipei, told HealthDay. Suicide appears to be a “relatively” uncommon cause of death among these patients, Chang said. Still, if the risk is higher than average, it’s important to know that and try to intervene, she added.

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