Study: Too few patients get clot-busting drugs

While the number of heart attack patients getting angioplasties or clot-busting drugs has climbed over the past 10 years, 10 percent of patients don't seem to be getting the drugs at all, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Medicine. 

The patients who most likely to miss out on such treatment are those who have an atypical presentation, or in other words, didn't have typical heart-attack symptoms such as chest pain. Patients who arrived six or more hours after the start of the attack, people over the age of 75, women and non-white patients were also less likely to receive such lifesaving treatments. (The idea that gender and ethnic lines matter is particularly troubling, in my view.)

Cardiologists from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and the Yale University School Medicine conducted the study. To draw their conclusions, the researchers looked at 238,291 patients who had an ST-elevated myocardial infarction which could have been treated in this manner. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of NIH.

To find out more about the study:
- read this press release from the University of Michigan Health System

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