Speedy Angioplasty Is Critical to Heart Attack Patients' Survival
WebMD News Archive
If logistical problems make performing angioplasty within two hours
impossible, Cannon and colleagues suggest that so-called "clot-busting"
drugs, also known as thrombolytics, are a better treatment option. Logistical
problems can include inadequate hospital facilities or a hospital arrival late
at night, when teams that perform catheterization are unavailable.
"If it's the middle of the night and the [cardiac catheterization] lab
team can't be mobilized, drug therapy may be a better option," former
American Heart Association (AHA) president Sidney Smith, MD, tells WebMD.
"As good as angioplasty may be, this study shows that if there is a delay
in excess of two hours, you are not going to see an advantage to this
therapy." Smith, a professor of medicine at the University of North
Carolina, reviewed this study for WebMD.
The study's findings support revised guidelines issued last year by the
American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the AHA, calling for angioplasties to
be performed within 90 minutes of hospital arrival, give or take 30
Smith, who now chairs the ACC/AHA committee that issued the revised
guidelines, says this study will help get out the message that timing is
critical for angioplasty.
"These findings fall right in line with the committee's
recommendations," he says. "They offer more evidence of the need for
physicians and health care systems to monitor door-to-balloon times and work to
- Angioplasty is a procedure that uses a balloon to widen the narrowed or
blocked artery of a heart disease patient.
- A new study shows that heart attack patients who have angioplasty two and a
half hours after reaching the hospital are twice as likely to die as those who
receive it within the first hour.
- Timing is critical for the angioplasty procedure, and if it can't be
performed quickly, then an alternative treatment with clot-busting drugs may be
appropriate, one expert says.