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Plavix Saves Lives After Big Heart Attacks


10/19/2005 5:12:58 PM

Adding the clot-preventing drug Plavix to the treatment of people with severe heart attacks helps reopen their clogged arteries and saves lives. That's the finding of two studies presented Wednesday at the American College of Cardiology's annual scientific sessions in Orlando, Fla. Plavix reduces clotting by preventing the blood cells called platelets from clumping together. It's now used to prevent artery blockage in people at high risk of heart attacks and those who undergo the artery-opening procedure called angioplasty. A U.S. study of nearly 3,500 people treated in the first hours after a heart attack showed that those who got Plavix in addition to a clot-dissolving drug and aspirin -- the current standard treatment -- were 36 percent less likely to die or to have another heart attack, reported Dr. Marc S. Sabatine, an associate physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and a leader of the study. "This treatment applies to patients coming in with the most severe form of heart attack, where the artery is completely blocked," Sabatine said. "There are about a million heart attacks in the United Stats every year, and about a third of them are the severe kind, where the artery needs to be reopened immediately." The study will be published in the March 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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