Heart disease affects more than a million people in the UK each and every year and more than 147,000 people die from the disease annually, according to statistics published by the British Heart Foundation.

Factors for the disease include bad diet, obesity, family history, diabetes, smoking, lack of exercise and age (55 or older for women).

But there may be one other risk factor that is not as well-known: the moon.

According to a new study published in the journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, the lunar cycle can have a significant impact on the severity and duration of the disease – particularly for those undergoing surgery.

Research carried out at Rhode Island Hospital in America, showed that the recovery rates for heart patients undergoing surgery performed during the waning moon reduced the odds of death while a full moon was associated with shorter length of stay.

The purpose of the research was to assess the impact of both the season and the lunar cycle on hospital stay.

Frank Sellke, M.D, is the chief of cardiothoracic surgery and co-director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Rhode Island. He is also one of the directors at Miriam and Newport hospitals in the US and was the senior author of the study.

He said: “We focused the study on patients having aortic dissection and found that the odds of dying following this procedure were greatly reduced during the waning full moon, and that length of stay was also reduced during the full moon.”

Researchers studied the relationship of lunar cycles and seasonal variation on two separate groups of patients and they also studied the relationship of the lunar cycle on their hospital duration.

The study indicates that the aortic dissection performed during the full moon phase had a significantly shorter length of stay than two other moon phases – 10 days for the full moon cycle versus 14 days for the other phases.

Mr Sellke, added: “Can we always plan for such procedures to be performed around lunar cycles? Of course not. But a better understanding of the effects of the environment – including seasonal and lunar cycles – on our health can help us to understand these rhythms and ultimately provide better care for our patients.”

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