According to researchers, people who smoke cigarettes may be more at risk to develop than nonsmokers. These blood clots can block the blood supply and may lead to serious heart conditions, including fatal heart attacks. Smoking cigarettes increases the coagulability of blood. The result is that clots are more likely to form in smokers, and those clots that do form will be larger than those of nonsmokers. In order to research this phenomenon, Dr. Giri Saytendra of the University of Connecticut studied 902 patients who underwent emergency artery-clearing surgery. 348 of the participants were smokers. Saytendra's findings showed that, in smokers, blood clots
averaged 16.9 square millimeters compared to 13.7 square millimeters for nonsmokers. His research also determined that patients who had smoked a cigarette less than six hours before their heart attack had larger clots. After the six-hour period the effect was lessened. Unfortunately, most cigarette smokers indulged in more than one cigarette every six hours.
Saytendra's research suggests that pulling cigarette smoke into the lungs may be a trigger for heart attacks. The clot building effect of cigarette smoking was not directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked or to the number of years the patient had smoked.
The American Heart Association reminds Americans that the best way for smokers to prevent heart attacks is to simply stop smoking.