Heart drugs may not help patients without quick angioplasty access

May 22, 2008 2:39:47 PM PDT
Drugs given to buy time for heart attack patients who do not have quick access to angioplasty do not help them live any longer or prevent further heart problems. That's the finding of a report in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at the drugs Reopro and Retavase.

The international study of thousands of patients is bad news for people who do not live near a hospital equipped to reopen blocked arteries-- or who come to a hospital where there is no staff available to do the procedure.

It's estimated that for 60 percent of the US population the hospital closest to home does not have the capability to do angioplasty.