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Angioplasty may be more effective than drug therapy

9th May 2007

Angioplasty or PCI has been found to be more effective than intensive drug therapy at reducing the risk of a major cardiac event among heart attack survivors with "silent ischemia", a study has revealed.

Cardiac ischemia occurs when insufficient blood flows to the heart muscle tissue. "Silent ischemia" comes about without symptoms. This can, however, be detected by electrocardiogram (ECG).

Scientists compared angioplasty and drug therapy to determine the long-term outcomes of patients with silent ischemia after a heart attack.

Some 96 patients who had recently suffered a heart attack had an angioplasty and 105 were given intensive drug therapy.

Of those who received PCI, 27 major cardiac events occurred in the next 10 years, while 67 major cardiac events took place among those who had been given intensive drug therapy.

The authors wrote: "We found persistent benefit of PCI compared to optimised drug therapy.

"This is the first, to our knowledge, long-term outcome study of an invasive therapy compared with an intensive anti-ischemic drug therapy in asymptomatic patients with silent ischemia after a recent [heart attack]."