Preventive Angioplasty May Benefit Heart Attack Patients

Published Online: Thursday, October 10, 2013
According to new research, patients who undergo angioplasty for an artery that caused a heart attack may also benefit from having the procedure performed in other, seemingly healthy arteries.

In a study published online on September 1, 2013, in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed the benefit of preventive percutaneous coronary intervention in 465 patients who had suffered acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions. Patients were treated in 5 centers in the United Kingdom and were assigned to receive either standard angioplasty on the responsible artery or additional preventive angioplasty. Patients were followed from 2008 through 2013, and researchers recorded cardiac-related deaths, heart attacks, and refractory angina.

After an average follow-up of 23 months, 21 patients who received preventive percutaneous coronary intervention experienced a cardiac-related death, heart attack, or refractory angina, compared with 53 patients who received standard care, translating to a 65% reduced risk for preventive patients. The benefit of preventive angioplasty was similar, remaining significant, when the analysis was limited to cardiac death and heart attack.

The authors conclude that the results help to resolve conflicting opinions on the benefits of preventive angioplasty. They admit, however, that more research is needed to determine whether having the procedure at the same time as traditional angioplasty or at a later time is more beneficial.

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