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Angioplasty: Timing Is Key to Success

Study Shows Later Treatment May Not Help Some Heart Attack Patients

Angioplasty or Bypass Still Useful

The researchers emphasize that the findings only apply to the type of person studied: those whose heart attacks are caused by a blockage in one major artery and who are stable, with no chest pain when the angioplasty is performed three to 28 days later.

"If you have continuing chest pain or you have blockages in multiple arteries, you still need an intervention -- either angioplasty or bypass surgery," Gardner tells WebMD.

Additionally, angioplasty can still be lifesaving and relieve chest pain and other symptoms when performed within the 12-hour window, Hochman stresses. "That's why it is so critical to seek medical care very early after symptoms that could be a heart attack: chest discomfort, chest pressure or tightness, or even arm discomfort.

"Don't deny something is happening and sit home and take antacids," she says.

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