Referral to occupational medicine clinics and resumption of employment after myocardial infarction

J Occup Environ Med. 1999 Nov;41(11):943-7. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199911000-00004.


Rehabilitation after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) consists of education, exercise, and an encouragement to return to work (RTW). This study attempts to (1) determine whether the time interval between AMI and the visit at occupational medicine (OM) clinics predicts resumption of full employment, and (2) estimate the incidence of work-related recurrent AMI after RTW. We followed 216 consecutive AMI patients at a single OM clinic. The independent variables were clinical and personal data, physical workload and time between AMI, and first visit to the OM clinic. The outcome variables were full employment 24 months after the acute event and recurrent AMI during this period. Of all patients, 168 attempted RTW. Of these, 18 stopped working subsequently. Of the remaining 150 patients, 54 returned to part-time work and 96 were employed full-time after 2 years. Logistic regression indicated that a failure to resume full employment was independently associated with diabetes, older age, Q wave AMI, angina before AMI, heavy work, and a late visit to the OM clinic. For each month's delay in referral to the OM clinic, there was a 30% decrease in the chance for full employment 24 months after AMI. Six (4%) of the 150 patients who resumed employment sustained a recurrent AMI, two of them while at work. A delayed referral to the OM clinic was associated with work disability after AMI. Late referrals to OM clinics should receive a more intensive and sustained rehabilitation than early referrals. Whether an earlier referral to OM clinics will result in increased RTW rates is unknown. Patients who attempted to resume employment had a 1.2% risk of a recurrent ischemic event at their workplace.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Employment / trends
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recurrence
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / trends
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Survival Rate