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Study Says Marriage Is Good For Your Heart ... Literally

A new study says being married increases your chances for a better recovery after heart surgery.

By Mari Jo Valero | October 29, 2015

Talk about marriage being good for the heart ... literally. A new study found marriage can ease your recovery after heart surgery.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery. It claims patients who were married did significantly better than those who were divorced, widowed or separated — but not better than those who had never been married.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania used data from a University of Michigan study of more than 1,500 adults over the age of 50 who had undergone heart surgery. 

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The researchers said those who were divorced, widowed or separated were 40 percent more likely to die after heart surgery or develop a new disability within two years after the surgery.

The researchers looked at how well the patients could perform everyday activities like dressing, eating and taking showers without help.

Study co-author Mark Neuman said the reason for the link between marriage and better heart surgery recovery remains unknown, but it may help doctors identify who may need more support after surgery. 

We should note, though, that the patients who had never been married had about the same chances of successful recovery than people who were married.

Granted, the unmarried patients only accounted for two percent of the study participants, while the married patients accounted for 65 percent.

Dr. Ashish Shah is the head of heart transplantation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Shah says the recent findings echo other studies that found married patients do better after surgery.

Dr. Shah told ABC News that "there's always been the feeling that people who have [a person] that is supporting them tend to do better." 

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