A substantial number of myocardial infarctions (MI) occur at working age. It is, however, insufficiently well known how many of these patients return to work after their MI.
Sources of information were the Hospital Discharge Register, the Causes of Death Register and the registers for social security benefits. Availability for the labour market was used as the return to work criterion. Altogether 10,244 persons (8,733 men, 1,511 women) aged 35-59 years had their first MI or coronary death during 1991-1994 in Finland. Persons who survived for 28 days and were not on pension at the time of MI were included in a two-year follow-up.
Twenty-nine per cent of patients were already pensioned at the time of their first MI. Of the patients not pensioned at the time of their MI, 4,929 were alive two years after the event. Of them, 38% of men and 40% of women received disability pension, 3% of both genders were on sick leave and 1% of both genders were on unemployment pension. The remainder, 58% of men and 56% of women, did not receive any of these benefits, thus, being available to the labour force.
Nearly one-third of persons having their first MI at working age were already out of the labour force at the time of their MI. Of those who were not pensioned and who survived the event, slightly more than half were available to the labour market two years later.