Treatments for heart attack, heart failure

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by the Asbury Park Press on 10/8/06

In an analysis of hospital performance measures for heart patients, Gannett News Service included seven heart attack treatment measures and three measures for heart failure patients. All are recommended treatments known to provide the best results for most people with these medical problems, and the percentages are calculated only for those patients who are good candidates for the treatments.

The heart attack measures were the percentages of patients who were given:

An ACE inhibitor or ARB drug to treat dysfunction on the left side of the heart.

Aspirin on arrival at the hospital, to keep blood clots from forming, and to dissolve clots that can cause heart attacks.

Aspirin at discharge to prevent further heart attacks.

Beta blocker drugs at arrival to lower blood pressure, treat chest pain and help prevent a heart attack.

Beta blockers at discharge.

PCI, a variety of procedures, including angioplasty, in which catheters are threaded into the body to open heart arteries, within 120 minutes of arrival at the hospital.

Thrombolytic medication, which attacks blood clots, within 30 minutes of arrival.

The heart failure measures were the percentages of patients who were given:

An ACE inhibitor or ARB drug to treat dysfunction on the left side of the heart.

An assessment to check how the left chamber of the heart is pumping.

Instructions on how to manage heart failure symptoms after discharge.

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