Heart attack cases believed linked to quake

8:01 am on 13 September 2010

Some people are having heart attacks from stress following the Canterbury earthquake, St John Ambulance says.

The ambulance service says it was called out to eight heart attacks on Friday night alone, seven which were fatal, whereas the service deals with, on average, one cardiac arrest a night.

Regional operations manager Chris Haines says there is no explanation for the increase other than stress.

Mr Haines says 80 people have also gone to Christchurch Hospital with heart complaints over the past few days, which is also a very high number.

Domestic violence

The incidence of domestic violence was still unusually high in the Canterbury region on Sunday and police are attributing this to the higher stress levels people are experiencing.

Last week they recorded a 53% increase in family violence and Superintendent Dave Cliff says there are signs that that high level remains.

He says police are putting extra resources into the family violence area and are working with agencies like Women's Refuge to try to manage the problem.

He says it is a time of great stress and concern for those affected by the earthquake but there are people to turn to.