Background: Over one billion Muslims fast worldwide during the month of Ramadan. The impact of fasting on circadian presentation with acute cardiac events is unknown.
Aim: To determine if fasting has any effect on the circadian presentation of acute cardiac events.
Setting and design: A prospective study in a general hospital.
Materials and methods: Patients with acute coronary events were divided into two groups based on the history of fasting. Information about age, gender, cardiovascular risk factor profiles and outcome was collected. The relationship of time of presentation of initial symptoms with fasting was evaluated using Student's t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test and chi2 analysis.
Results: Of the 1019 patients hospitalized during the study period, 162 were fasting. Although, fasting patients were more likely to present to the emergency department in the time periods 5-6 AM (10.5% vs 6.3%) and 11 PM (11.1% vs 7.1%) and were less likely to present in the time periods 1-2 PM (3.7% vs 7.2%) and 5-6 PM (3.7% vs 7.0%); these differences were not statistically significant. Fasting patients were less likely to have their symptoms start between 5 and 8 AM (11.1% vs 19.4%) and more likely to have symptoms between 5 and 6 PM (11.1% vs 6.0%) and 3 and 4 AM (11.1% vs 6.9%). These differences for time of initial symptoms were statistically significant (P=0.002).
Conclusion: Exogenous factors associated with fasting, namely, the changes in food intake and/or sleep timings, affect the circadian rhythm and influence the timing of presentation of acute coronary events.