1 Research Centre for Prevention and Health, FCFS, The Capital Region of Denmark2 Hjerteafdeling Y, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, The Capital Region of Denmark3 Psykiatrisk Center Sct. Hans, Mental Health Services, The Capital Region of Denmark
BACKGROUND: Over the last decades survival after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) has improved, leading to an increasing number of patients returning to work, but little is known about factors that may influence their labour market affiliation. This study examines the impact of gender, co-morbidity and socio-economic position on subsequent labour market affiliation and transition between various social services in patients admitted for the first time with ACS. METHODS: From 2001 to 2009 all first-time hospitalisations for ACS were identified in the Danish National Patient Registry (n = 79,714). For this population, data on sick leave, unemployment and retirement were obtained from an administrative register covering all citizens. The 21,926 patients, aged 18-63 years, who had survived 30 days and were part of the workforce at the time of diagnosis were included in the analyses where subsequent transition between the above labour market states was examined using Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox proportional hazards models. FINDINGS: A total of 37% of patients were in work 30 days after first ACS diagnosis, while 55% were on sick leave and 8% were unemployed. Seventy-nine per cent returned to work once during follow-up. This probability was highest among males, those below 50 years, living with a partner, the highest educated, with higher occupations, having specific events (NSTEMI, and percutaneous coronary intervention) and with no co-morbidity. During five years follow-up, 43% retired due to disability or voluntary early pension. Female gender, low education, basic occupation, co-morbidity and having a severer event (invasive procedures) and receiving sickness benefits or being unemployed 30 days after admission were associated with increased probability of early retirement. CONCLUSION: About half of patients with first-time ACS stay in or return to work shortly after the event. Women, the socially disadvantaged, those with presumed severer events and co-morbidity have lower rates of return.