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Hospitalisations for second myocardial infarction are fall-ing twice as fast as for first MIs, a new study reveals.

The researchers, who will present their data at this week's European Society of Cardiology annual congress in Stockholm, said the 'striking decline' illustrated the success of secondary prevention.

The number of hospital admissions for a second MI plummeted by 58 per cent over 10 years, compared with 28 per cent for a first MI.

But a second study by the same research group suggests the benefits of secondary prevention are not being spread evenly among men and women, or the young and old.

Adjusted 30-day case fatality fell by 59 per cent in men under 65 but just 47 per cent in women under 65 over the study period.

The research, which examined Scottish data on 110,226 hospitalisations for MI between 1990 and 2000, also found longer-term case fatality was significantly lower in older individuals.

Professor John McMurray, professor of medical cardiology at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow and leader of both studies, said the results were 'good news', and much of the improvement in survival was due to better treatment in primary and secondary care.

But he added: 'We know that women and the elderly ­ these two groups overlap ­ are often less well treated and we need to redouble our efforts.'

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