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High Blood Pressure Medicines Show Promise For Treating Heart Disease
Date:10/19/2009

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Standard treatment of stable ischemic heart disease consists of a modification of diet, exercise and medications including aspirin, anti-cholesterol drugs, nitroglycerin and beta blockers. These can keep the disease from worsening. However, while standard treatment usually alleviates chest pain, it is not universally successful in reducing risk of heart failure or heart attack.

For patients with advanced stable ischemic heart disease, treatment can include heart surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, in which surgeons use a blood vessel harvested from the chest, leg or arm to reroute blood flow around narrowed heart arteries) or angioplasty (a procedure in which a catheter is used to inflate a balloon inside the plaque-narrowed artery and a mesh tube called a stent is usually inserted to keep the artery open).

ACE inhibitors and ARBs, which are commonly prescribed to combat high blood pressure, also are used for treatment of a heart attack and chronic heart failure. Captopril (sold as Capoten), the first ACE inhibitor to be taken orally, has been commonly available in the United States since the early 1980s. ARBs, first approved for use in the United States in the mid-1990s, often are prescribed when a patient has adverse effects to ACE inhibitors, but ACE inhibitors are used more commonly.

The AHRQ report found that patients with stable ischemic heart disease who take an ACE inhibitor in addition to standard treatment can reduce the likelihood of several negative outcomes, including death from heart attack or heart failure, non-fatal heart attacks, hospitalization for heart failure, and revascularization (surgeries that reroute blood to the heart). Patients who take an ARB in addition to standard medications can reduce their risk of death from a heart-related cause, heart attack or stroke.

While some patients and clinicians pursue a course of treatment using both ACE inhibitors and ARBs, the report fou
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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