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Cutting angioplasty time increases odds

NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 21 (UPI) -- Any delays in hospital-door-to-angioplasty times increase mortality risks for those who had heart attacks, U.S. researchers found.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, said the sooner, the better, should be the new time guideline for undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions -- angioplasties -- after a heart attack.

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Angioplasty widens the main artery by inserting a catheter with a balloon that is inflated to clear the blockage. Previously, the target for entering the hospital and getting the procedure -- known as door-to-balloon time -- had been within 90 minutes.

The Yale University School of Medicine researchers, led by Saif Rathore, analyzed data from the American College of Cardiology National Cardiovascular Data Registry for 43,801 U.S. acute care hospital patients from 2005 to 2006, who had undergone balloon angioplasty within 12 hours of a heart attack.

The researchers found 3 percent of patients with door-to-balloon times of 30 minutes died in the hospital, while 4.3 percent of patients with door-to-balloon times of 90 minutes died. The highest mortality rate -- 10.3 percent -- was for patients with door-to-balloon times of 270 minutes.

"Rather than accepting the 90 minute door-to-balloon time benchmark, our data support calls for an 'as soon as possible' standard for patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention," the study authors said in a statement.

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