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Sometimes Angioplasty Can Wait
Date:9/1/2009

persons treated in emergency rooms, nearly 10 times the number seen in the French study.

That earlier study compared angioplasty done within 12 hours to angioplasty done as long as 36 hours after diagnosis. People with the more severe ST-elevation heart attacks definitely benefited from earlier angioplasty, but those with milder heart attacks did not, the researchers found.

The French doctors also used a faster measure of heart performance -- blood levels of troponin, a protein produced by damaged heart tissue. "Troponin I release, as reflected by peak values collected during hospitalization, did not differ between the two strategies in the immediate and delayed intervention groups," the researchers wrote.

Some caution is needed in applying the results of the French study because the number of people treated was small, Granger cautioned.

"We have to be careful with small studies like this not to ascribe a substantial amount of clinical relevance to them," he said. "But the results are consistent with the idea that immediate intervention is not necessary in this kind of myocardial infarction."

More information

The warning signs of a heart attack and what to do about them are described by the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Christopher Granger, M.D., director, cardiac care unit, and professor, medicine, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Sept. 2, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association


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