The Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster and cardiovascular diseases

Tatsuo Aoki, Yoshihiro Fukumoto, Satoshi Yasuda, Yasuhiko Sakata, Kenta Ito, Jun Takahashi, Satoshi Miyata, Ichiro Tsuji, Hiroaki Shimokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


AimsWhile previous studies reported a short-term increase in individual cardiovascular disease (CVD) after great earthquakes, mid-term occurrences of all types of CVDs after great earthquakes are unknown. We addressed this important issue in our experience with the Great East Japan Earthquake (11 March 2011).Methods and resultsWe retrospectively examined the impact of the Earthquake on the occurrences of CVDs and pneumonia by comparing the ambulance records made by doctors in our Miyagi Prefecture, the centre of the disaster area, during the periods of 2008-11 (n 124 152). The weekly occurrences of CVDs, including heart failure (HF), acute coronary syndrome (ACS), stroke, cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA), and pneumonia were all significantly increased after the Earthquake compared with the previous 3 years. The occurrences of ACS and CPA showed the rapid increase followed by a sharp decline, whereas those of HF and pneumonia showed a prolonged increase for more than 6 weeks and those of stroke and CPA showed a second peak after the largest aftershock (7 April 2011). Furthermore, the occurrence of CPA was increased in the first 24 h after the Earthquake, followed by other diseases later on. These increases were independent of age, sex, or residence area (seacoast vs. inland).ConclusionThese results indicate that the occurrences of all types of CVDs and pneumonia were increased in somewhat different time courses after the Earthquake, including the first observation of the marked and prolonged increase in HF, emphasizing the importance of intensive medical management of all types of CVDs after great earthquakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2796-2803
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Earthquake
  • Heart failure
  • Tsunami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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