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Evidence-Based Heart Attack Care Reduces Deaths: Study
Date:4/27/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- The increased use of evidence-based treatments for heart attacks, such as clot-busting drugs and rapid angioplasty, has led to a decrease in deaths, a new study finds.

Researchers used data from a Swedish coronary care registry on more than 61,000 patients who had had a particular type of deadly heart attack known as STEMI between 1996 and 2007.

During those 12 years, the use of evidence-based treatments -- that is, treatments that were shown in large-scale, randomized medical studies to work -- became more widespread, according to the study.

That corresponded with a drop in deaths from that type of heart attack, the investigators found.

From 1996 to 2007, in-hospital deaths in Sweden fell from 12.5 percent to 7.2 percent. Deaths within a month of the heart attack fell from 15 percent to 8.6 percent, and deaths within a year of the heart attack dropped from 21 percent to 13.3 percent, according to the report.

The percentage of patients who had a second heart attack while in the hospital also fell from 4 percent at the start of the study period to 1 percent by the study's end.

Though this research was conducted in Sweden, experts said they'd expect to see a similar trend in the United States, where evidence-based treatments are also increasingly taking hold at the nation's hospitals.

"The combined use of simple therapies such as aspirin and cholesterol-lowering medications and balloon stents were associated with a significant reduction in mortality," said Dr. Debabrata Mukherjee, chief of cardiology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. "We would expect to have similar findings in the United States."

Mukherjee wrote an editorial accompanying the study in the April 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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