PURPOSE: In spite of their widespread use in other fields, global measures of health are not commonly used in determining the prognosis of patients with myocardial infarction (MI). The objective of the present study was to ascertain the relationship between self-assessed physical health at the time of the MI and long-term mortality.
METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study of 284 patients with MI admitted to an academic community hospital between July 1995 and December 1996 who completed the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). The physical component scale from the SF-36 was used as a self-assessment of physical health. All-cause mortality was assessed 10 years later by using the Social Security Death Index.
RESULTS: Patients with lower self-reported physical health were significantly more likely to be women; older; depressed; have a history of coronary artery disease; have a family history of MI; have a non–Q wave MI; have a Killip class 3 or 4 MI; have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, renal insufficiency, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and have a longer hospitalization period. Patients with higher physical component scores had significantly lower mortality in the 10 years after MI and this persisted after adjusting for confounders (hazard ratio = 0.97 [95% CI 0.96–0.99], P = .001).
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that self-assessed physical health provides information on the long-term prognosis of patients with MI above and beyond that provided by traditional risk predictors.