Background: Little is known about dietary scores and mortality risk in cardiac patients who are well treated with drugs with attendant relatively low risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
Objective: We assessed whether healthy eating lowers the risk of CVD and all-cause mortality in cardiac patients.
Design: We included 4307 patients from the Alpha Omega Trial aged 60-80 y with a clinically diagnosed myocardial infarction and monitored mortality for 10 y. Diet was assessed at baseline (2002-2006) with a validated 203-item food-frequency questionnaire. We created 2 dietary scores on the basis of nonoverlapping sets of foods: the Dutch Healthy Nutrient and Food Score (DHNaFS) and the Dutch Undesirable Nutrient and Food Score (DUNaFS). The associations of both dietary scores with CVD and all-cause mortality were assessed by using multivariable-adjusted Cox regression models.
Results: The median time after myocardial infarction at baseline was 3.7 y (IQR: 1.7-6.3 y). During a median of 6.5 y of follow-up (IQR: 5.3-7.6 y), 801 patients died; 342 of those died of CVD. One patient was lost to follow-up. A substantially higher average amount of DHNaFS foods (∼1750 g/d) than DUNaFS foods (∼650 g/d) was consumed. Almost all patients received drug treatment: 86% used statins, 90% used antihypertensive medication, and 98% used antithrombotic medication. Patients in the fifth quintile of the DHNaFS had a 30% (HR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.55, 0.91) lower CVD risk and a 32% (HR: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.47, 0.99) lower all-cause mortality risk than did patients in the first quintile. The DUNaFS was unrelated to both CVD and all-cause mortality.
Conclusion: Beyond state-of-the-art drug treatment, healthy eating was associated with a lower risk of CVD and all-cause mortality in cardiac patients. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00127452.
Keywords: cardiac patients; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology; food-based dietary scores; mortality.
© 2015 American Society for Nutrition.