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Heart Attack, Coronary Disease Treatment Guidelines Updated

Report finds fastest possible treatment requires communitywide coordination

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency care for heart attack patients requires a communitywide, coordinated response in order to deliver the best treatment, according to a report published online Nov. 18 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

This is one of a number of new recommendations jointly produced by the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. The recommendations are based on a review of the latest clinical research; and the guidelines, completed in record time, will help clinicians put this new knowledge into action in clinical practice.

Other key recommendations include guidelines on the direction of patients to hospitals where they can undergo rapid percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and the management of patients who are initially directed to a non-PCI hospital. Whereas patients at such centers are commonly treated with clot-busting drugs and then observed, those at high-risk should be moved without delay to a PCI center rather than waiting to see if clot-busting therapy is successful, the guidelines state.

"The focused update is a way of responding quickly to new information that will benefit patients," Sidney C. Smith Jr., M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the chair of the writing group, said in a statement. "We were able to look over a year of major studies and incorporate the most valuable findings into the existing guidelines."

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