Aims: Ischemic heart disease is coded under ICD-9 as the subgroup (410–414). Findings about these diagnoses, especially acute myocardial infarction, vary from study to study even when performed in the same ethno-religious group because of weaknesses in measuring in-group differences approach towards well-known risk factors, which is the intention of comparing our findings with similar studies.
Methods: This retrospective study used all hospital admissions retrieved from the electronic hospital database during 10 years period, 2005–2014 at Tirana University Hospital Center, “Mother Teresa”. We examined all patients born between years 1905–1965, analyzing differences between patients discharged with diagnoses of ischemic heart disease to the totality of patients discriminating these diagnoses among groups of personal names coded as ‘Muslim names’ and ‘other’.
Results: From 108,948 admissions there were extracted 11,411 patients fulfilling the criteria for ischemic heart disease. Admission ratio man to women was 2.2. No statistically significant difference between two group names regarding the age at first hospital admission, p=0.685. Cases coded as ‘Muslim name’, were more likely to encounter ischemic heart disease (IHD) during study time, (OR = 1.13; 95% CI, 1.08-1.17), p < 0.01, although after adjustment for age, sex and place of residence there seems little evidence of association, (OR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02-1.11), p=0.05. The subgroup of female ‘Muslim name’ population shows a higher risk to IHD, even after adjustment for age and place of residence (OR = 1.20; 95% CI, 1.12-1.29), p < 0.01. Results persisted when tests are replicated only for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction.
Conclusions: Practicing religious groups would be expected to follow similar patterns of lifestyles. Taking this conclusion for granted generally oversimplifies religious affiliation as a dichotomous variable forgetting to take in consideration large in-group lifestyle differences mistakenly engendering a plurality of results, which make necessary the conceptions of evaluation tools to measure adherence to religious recommendations. Other studies in the same population as ours find Muslim men with a higher risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction (OR = 1.32; 95% CI, 0.95-1.82) which upon adjustment becomes (OR = 1.20; 95% CI, 0.85-1.70) but not significant, and another one finds Islamic religious affiliation a higher risk of acute coronary syndrome, (OR = 1.60; 95% CI, 0.95-1.82) than their Christian compatriots.