Heart, Lung and Circulation
Original Article| Volume 18, ISSUE 5, P347-352, October 2009

Therapy for Triggered Acute Risk Prevention: A Study of Feasibility


      Heavy physical exertion, emotional stress, heavy meals and respiratory infection transiently increase the risk of myocardial infarction, sudden death and stroke, however it remains uncertain how to use this information for disease prevention.


      We determined the feasibility of taking targeted medication for the hazard duration of a triggering activity to reduce risk.


      After a run-in training period over 1 month, 17 healthy subjects recorded for 1 month all episodes of physical and emotional stress, heavy meal and respiratory infection. For each episode, they were instructed to take either aspirin 100 mg and propranolol 10 mg (for physical exertion and emotional stress) or aspirin 100 mg alone (for respiratory infection and heavy meal) and record adherence with taking medication. Subjects performed exertion while wearing a heart rate monitor, once during the run-in period, and once 30 min after taking propranolol and aspirin.


      Based on study diary subjects reliably documented triggers with 94% adherence. Designated medication was also reliably taken, with 88% adherence. Propranolol taken prior to exertion resulted in a lower peak heart rate (128 ± 38 versus 149 ± 21, p < 0.01) compared to similar exercise during the run-in period. Over two-thirds (71%) of subjects considered that it was feasible to continue taking medication in this manner.


      The study indicates that potential triggers of acute cardiovascular disease can be reliably identified, and it is feasible and acceptable to take targeted medication at the time of these triggers. These findings encourage further investigation of the potential role of this therapeutic strategy.


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