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Hearts Saved As Doctors Put Cutting Edge Discoveries to Use

A study has come out with the good news that in the last six years, death rates and heart failure in hospitalized heart attack patients have fallen// sharply- most likely because of better treatment.

According to the researchers, the promising trend parallels the growing use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, powerful blood thinners, and angioplasty, the procedure that opens clogged arteries.

Says lead author Dr. Keith Fox, a cardiology professor at the University of Edinburgh: “These results are really dramatic, because, in fact, they're the first time anybody has demonstrated a reduction in the development of new heart failure."

The six-year study was based on nearly 45,000 patients in 14 countries who had major heart attacks or dangerous partial artery blockages. The percentage of patients who died in the hospital or who developed heart failure was nearly cut in half from 1999 to 2005.

It was also observed that the heart attack patients treated most recently were far less likely to have another attack within six months of being hospitalized when compared to the patients treated six years earlier - a sure sign that the more aggressive efforts of doctors in the last few years are working.

The researchers agree that there have been other signs that better treatment of heart patients has been saving lives, yet not on a so large a scale as scale as this international study, they stress. "It's much more dramatic than we expected, in the course of six years," Fox was quoted.

The new study follows landmark research results in March that showed angioplasty is being overused on people who have chest pain but are not in immediate danger of a heart attack. But this popular procedure, which typically uses stents to keep an unclogged vessel open, is still a powerful tool for saving those who are having a heart attack or are at high risk of one.

Patients for the study enrolled between July 1999 through Decembe
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