You better watch out: MI most likely at 10pm on Christmas Eve

The seasonal peak in risk is possibly due to heightened emotions, say researchers

The festive season has a darker side, especially for older and sicker patients, who are more likely to have an MI on Christmas Eve than on any other day of the year, a study shows.

Swedish researchers have found the risk for being admitted with MI is almost 40% higher on Christmas Eve, peaking at about 10pm that night.

Earlier studies have shown a peak in cardiac mortality in the western world on Christmas Day and New Year’s holidays, and during Islamic holidays in countries where these are widely celebrated.

But the researchers say their study uses the largest single medical register of patients admitted to hospital with MI to analyse whether Christmas, national holidays, sports events or time factors triggered acute MI. 

The study, included in the BMJ’s Christmas issue, analysed more than 283,000 cases of MI recorded in the Swedish nationwide coronary care