Background: Socioeconomic gradients in the occurrence of myocardial infarction are well known, but few studies have examined socioeconomic disparities in post-infarction outcomes. The objective of this study was to explore relations of socioeconomic status with the incidence, treatment, and outcome of first coronary event in Rome, Italy, during the period 1998-2000, examining effect modification by gender.
Methods: Subjects were Rome residents aged 35-84 years who died from first acute coronary event before reaching the hospital (n=3470) or were hospitalised for first acute myocardial infarction (n=8467). Area based deprivation status and patients' educational attainment were the exposure variables. The outcomes were: incidence of coronary event; recanalisation at the index hospitalisation and fatality within 28 days of hospitalisation; cardiac readmissions and fatality between 28 days and one year of index hospitalisation.
Results: Incidence rates increased as area based deprivation status increased; the effect was stronger among women than among men (men RR=1.40, 95%CI:1.30, 1.50, women RR=1.78, 95%CI:1.60, 1.98, most compared with least deprived). Rates of recanalisation were significantly lower in the most deprived patients than in the least deprived (OR=0.77, 95%CI:0.59, 0.99) and in the less educated than in the highly educated (OR=0.73, 95%CI:0.58, 0.90). Associations of short term fatality with area based deprivation status and educational attainment were weak and inconsistent. However, neither deprivation status nor education was associated with one year outcomes.
Conclusions: Area based deprivation status is strongly related to incidence of coronary events, and more so among women than among men. Deprivation status and educational attainment are weakly and inconsistently associated with short term fatality but seem not to influence one year prognosis of acute myocardial infarction. Deprived and less educated patients experience limited access to recanalisation procedures.