Heart attack technique could save lives

 A new, relatively simple way of treating heart attacks could save thousands of lives, according to specialists at a Clydebank hospital. It involves clearing all narrowed arteries when someone is admitted with a heart attack, rather than just the one which is completely blocked.
A trial, involving the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, was so successful that the research was stopped early.
Jubilee heart specialist Prof Colin Berry said the results were "striking".
Another cardiologist, Prof Keith Oldroyd, said: "At the moment when patients come in with a heart attack they have an emergency angiogram and we usually only treat the artery that has caused the heart attack.
"Many of these patients have additional narrowings in other arteries. We’re treating all the narrowed arteries at the same time to see if that confers additional benefit."
Every year 25,000 people in the UK have the kind of heart attack which is treated with an angioplasty. This involves inserting a stent, or thin tube, to open an artery and restore the blood flow.
Arteries become narrowed by fatty deposits, so although a blood clot may have only blocked one artery, other narrowed arteries are common. Current UK recommendations advise specialists only to treat the artery which is completely blocked.
"Most cardiologists thought it wasn’t safe to treat a second or third artery at the same time as the first artery," Prof Oldroyd said.
"Sometimes the patients would be brought back several weeks later or sometimes only medication would be used. The results of this trial suggest that this recommendation should be revisited."