TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For patients returning to work after first myocardial infarction (MI), the risk for recurrent coronary heart disease (CHD) events is increased in association with longer working hours per week, according to a study published in the April 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Xavier Trudel, Ph.D., from the Université Laval in Quebec City, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving 967 men and women aged 35 to 59 years who returned to work after a first MI to examine the effect of long working hours on the risk for recurrent CHD events. Patients were recruited from 30 hospitals and were followed for a mean duration of 5.9 years. Working hours were assessed at an average of six weeks after return to work.

The researchers found that 205 patients had recurrent CHD events. After controlling for sociodemographics, lifestyle-related risk factors, clinical risk factors, work environment factors, and personality factors, the risk for recurrent CVD events was increased for participants working long hours (≥55 versus 35 to 40 hours/week: hazard ratio, 1.67). A linear risk increase was seen after 40 hours/week, and there was a stronger effect observed after the first four years of follow-up and for the combination of long working hours with job strain.

“Long working hours should be assessed as part of early and subsequent routine clinical follow-up to improve the prognosis of post-MI patients,” the authors write.

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