Heart attacks the main cause of death when travelling. Pexels

Medical insurance is a reality and a necessity these days, and new research has shown that Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of natural death among people who are travelling.

This observational study included 2,564 patients who had a heart attack and rapid treatment with a stent (percutaneous coronary intervention; PCI) between 1999 and 2015 at Juntendo University Shizuoka Hospital. 

The hospital is on the Izu peninsula, a popular tourist destination near Mount Fuji.

The researchers compared the demographic and clinical characteristics in residents versus people travelling. 

Patients were followed up for 16 years and the death rates were compared between groups. Mortality data were collected from medical records, telephone contact, and postal questionnaires.

A total of 192 patients (7.5%) were travelling at the onset of the heart attack. Patients who were travelling were younger and had a higher prevalence of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), a serious type of heart attack in which a major artery supplying blood to the heart is blocked.

Dr Ryota Nishio, of the Department of Cardiology in Juntendo University Shizuoka Hospital in Japan says: “Our study shows that long-term outcomes after a heart attack while travelling can be good if you get prompt treatment." 

He adds: "It is important that, when you are over the immediate emergency phase, and return home, you see your doctor to find out how you can reduce your risk of a second event by improving your lifestyle and potentially taking preventive medication."

For more info visit the European Society of Cardiology.