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Marriage could literally make your heart stronger

HealthBy Sunday World
Marriage could literally make your heart stronger

Think marriage is nothing but heartache? Think again, because scientists have found married people who underwent heart surgery made better recoveries than single or divorced patients.

According to the study, published in JAMA Surgery, those without a partner were 40 per cent more likely to die or develop a life-impending disability in the two years' post-operation.

Scientists focused on 1,576 cardiac surgery patients from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study. When the study was conducted, 65 per cent of participants were married, 12 per cent divorced or separated and 21 per cent widowed. Two per cent had never married.

The married patients were found to be less likely to suffer from other illnesses or disabilities prior to the surgery. When interviewed after the procedure, 19 per cent of the married patients had either died or developed a disability. This compared to 29 per cent of those divorced or separated, 34 per cent of those widowed and 20 per cent of those who had never married.

It's believed a partner's help with aftercare and choosing the hospital that performs the op could be reasons for the higher recovery rates in married people. Having your partner in mind pre-op could also mean waking up with a stronger heart.

"These findings extend prior work... suggesting postoperative survival advantages for married people and may relate to the role of social supports in influencing patients' choices of hospitals and their self-care," Professor Mark Neuman, of the University of Pennsylvania, said.

This means marital status could be a way to predict who will need the most help with aftercare following heart surgery and could mean more people get the support they need.

"Further research is needed to define the mechanisms linking marital status and postoperative outcomes," Professor Neuman added.

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