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Better odds with angioplasty

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1999 - Fall / 2000 - Winter


Balloon angioplasty offered better odds of survival over clot-dissolving drugs for elderly heart-attack patients, according to a study led by a Yale researcher. But Alan K. Berger, M.D., an angioplasty fellow at Yale-New Haven Hospital, stopped short of recommending angioplasty in all cases. “Only a small proportion of hospitals have the resources to perform angioplasty 24 hours a day,” Berger said. His research, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July, studied more than 20,000 patients who arrived at a hospital within 12 hours of the onset of acute myocardial infarction. Those who underwent balloon angioplasty within six hours of arrival had a 27 percent lower risk of death at 30 days and a 19 percent lower risk at one year, compared to patients who received clot dissolvers. However, for those who began treatment within six hours of the onset of symptoms and who were ideal candidates for both therapies, outcomes for angioplasty and thrombolysis were similar.