A recent study suggests that in one to six fatal heart attacks doctors could be missing warning signs leading up to the event.
The study, conducted by Imperial College London, scanned almost 450, 000 NHS cases involving heart attacks and the medical history of 135, 950 deaths caused by heart attacks between 2006 and 2010 in England.
The researchers found that of the fatal cases, 21, 677 were admitted to the hospital four weeks prior to their death - the medical records, however, did not mention any signs of an impending heart attack.
Almost half of all heart attacks are 'silent'
Subtle indications such as chest pain, fainting, shortness of breath would be evident up to a month before death in some cases, according to researchers.
"Doctors are very good at treating heart attacks when they are the main cause of admission, but we don't do very well treating secondary heart attacks or at picking up subtle signs which might point to a heart attack death in the near future,” said the lead scientist Dr Perviz Asaria from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.
How to spot a heart attack and what to do next
"Unfortunately, in the four weeks following a hospital stay, nearly as many heart attack deaths occur in people for whom heart attack is not recorded as a primary cause, as occur after an admission for heart attack," he added.
Meanwhile, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, Professor Jeremy Pearson said that the “study shows that large numbers of people who die of a heart attack have visited hospital in the month before but have not been diagnosed with heart disease.”
"This failure to detect warning signs is concerning and these results should prompt doctors to be more vigilant, reducing the chance that symptoms are missed and ultimately saving more lives," he said.
This article originally appeared on the Telegraph.