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Cardiogenic Shock is the Leading Cause of Death for Heart Attack Patients

nd aggressively provides a survival benefit that is sustained years after treatment,' says Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 'These results should guide physicians to consider emergency revascularization for patents with cardiogenic shock complicating heart attack,' says Dr. Nabel.

'Our study shows a significant survival benefit that is sustained up to 11 years. This benefit extends even to selected patients over the age of 75,' says Dr. Hochman, Clinical Chief of the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology and Director of Cardiovascular Clinical Research at New York University School of Medicine. 'Patients can do very well and clearly benefit from this therapy, but many doctors are reluctant to treat shock patients aggressively because they are the sickest of the sick and the death rate is so high,' says Dr. Hochman, who is also the Harold Snyder Family Professor of Cardiology at NYU School of Medicine.

Another problem is that many shock patients need to be put into an ambulance and transferred to tertiary care centers where they can receive appropriate care. Doctors usually have to accompany these patients to another hospital, and Dr. Hochman says 'there is a lot of legitimate fear about putting very sick patients in an ambulance.' Tertiary care hospitals provide specialized services such as catheterization labs where angioplasty, which involves threading a catheter-tipped balloon to the site of a blockage in a coronary artery, is performed.

Only about 60 percent of shock patients younger than 75 received the more aggressive treatment in tertiary care centers in 2004, according to a previous study by Dr Hochman and colleagues. And only 38 percent of patients with shock were transferred to such centers from 1998 to 2001.

The latest report from Dr. Hochman’s group stems from an international trial funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute called SHOCK, whi
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