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Hope for the Heart: Advances in Treatment

Today two-thirds of people survive their heart attacks, thanks to medical advances. Learn how some of these medical marvels evolved.

An Ounce of Prevention Still Best for Heart

Although medicine has come a long way from what James calls "the bad old days" of the late 50s and early 60s, he says it's still a fact that, "the vast majority of the heart disease that we're treating is unnecessary."

For those with access to top-notch cardiac care, it's too easy to think that when we have our inevitable heart attacks, the docs will be able to fix us up and send us home. But prevention -- by diet, exercise, quitting smoking, and taking cholesterol-lowering drugs if needed -- is still most important.

James recalls hospital wards full of people stricken by polio who breathed with the help of huge ventilators known as iron lungs. Most heart disease, like polio, is now preventable, he says. Focusing exclusively on treating end-stage heart disease is like "working on the technology so you could walk around with your ventilator instead of developing the vaccine."

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