Recent advances in the management of acute myocardial infarction have improved the immediate prognosis for recovery. Early diagnosis of less severe cases accounts, in part, for the mortality decline. Progress in current therapy is responsible for the large number whose recovery enables them to resume a useful and productive life.
The family of the patient with acute coronary occlusion can now be reassured that the vast majority of persons so afflicted recover.1 The over-all mortality during the acute attack of 15% to 25% is in sharp contrast with the earlier incidence of 50% to 60%.2 Uncomplicated first attacks are reported with a fatality rate of 3.4% to 8.5%.3-5 Such data support the optimism of physicians for the favorable immediate prognosis.
However, long-term prognosis of subsequent myocardial infarction is unpredictable. The variability in the natural course of the disease has made the long-term outlook uncertain. While one may