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Fewer Heart Attacks After Drop in Hormone Therapy Use

Last Updated: April 27, 2009.

The drop in the use of hormone replacement therapy in 2002 has resulted in a noticeable decrease in acute myocardial infarction among women aged 40 to 79 since then, according to a report released online March 23 in advance of publication in the journal Medical Care.

MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- The drop in the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in 2002 has resulted in a noticeable decrease in acute myocardial infarction among women aged 40 to 79 since then, according to a report released online March 23 in advance of publication in the journal Medical Care.

Kanaka D. Shetty, M.D., of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., and colleagues used hospital discharge data and death records from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Inpatient Sample, and national surveys of medication usage to assess the relationships between the use of HRT, stroke and heart attack deaths and hospitalizations in U.S. women aged 40 to 79. In a natural experiment, the changes in hospitalization and death rates were compared pre- and post-2002, the year that HRT use dropped off sharply because of suspected cardiovascular risk.

The researchers found that the decrease in HRT use was associated with a decrease in the incidence of heart attack after 2002 (-0.0025 or -25 events/10,000 person-years), but they discerned no statistically significant changes in hospitalizations or deaths from stroke.

"Our results suggest that observational data can provide correct inferences on clinical outcomes in the overall population if a suitable natural experiment is identified," the authors write.

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