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University of Ottawa Heart Institute Trial Finds Popular Blood Clotting Drug Does Not Improve Patient Outcomes and Increases Risk of Bleeding

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ - A popular drug used to prevent blood clotting during the treatment of severe heart attacks does not improve outcomes for patients undergoing a life-saving surgical procedure. Further, the drug - known generically as eptifibatide (pronounced ep-ti-fy-bah-tide) - also increases the risk of bleeding. The results follow a ground-breaking clinical trial conducted at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) which sought to determine the efficacy of a drug that is widely used but for which little clinical evidence was available to indicate a positive impact on treatment.

The three-year trial, called ASSIST, was designed to test the safety and efficacy of eptifibatide in serious heart attack patients who underwent an emergency angioplasty - called primary PCI - to open blood and oxygen flow to the heart. The study involved a total of 400 patients diagnosed with ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) at UOHI; 200 undergoing primary PCI using eptifibatide, and 200 who did not. The Heart Institute's trial results showed that using eptifibatide did not significantly improve patient outcomes. In fact, the study found that using the drug increased the risk of bleeding.

"We believe there is no supporting evidence to be incorporating this drug therapy for the treatment of acute STEMI patients, said Dr. Michel Le May, Director, Coronary Care Unit

Research Group, UOHI. "In fact, there is increased risk associated with its use. As a result, we expect this study will reshape our current clinical practice of medicine in managing the treatment and care of heart attack patients."

Dr. Le May presented the findings of the ASSIST trial today in Washington, D.C. at the 2008 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) Symposium, where interventional cardiologists from around the world gather to discuss innovative techniques and therapies in cardiovascular medicine.

About UOHI

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada's largest and foremost cardiovascular health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and preventing heart disease. We deliver high-tech care with a personal touch, shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced, and revolutionize cardiac treatment and understanding. We build knowledge through research and translate discoveries into advanced care. We serve the local, national and international community, and are pioneering a new era in heart health. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Ottawa Heart Institute, University of Ottawa
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