Published Online: Saturday, September 1, 2007
Two physician groups want a 2-pronged approach for chest pain or heart attacks due to partially blocked arteries. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have jointly issued new guidelines based on improved information about who might benefit from medical versus invasive therapy.

The guidelines recommend that stable and lower-risk patients undergo a stress test, an echocardiogram, and other heart-function tests. These patients also should receive therapies to thwart a second heart attack?for example, the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and other drugs. In addition, more emphasis should be placed on smoking cessation and improved control of cholesterol and blood pressure.

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