TUESDAY, Sept 21, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Heart attack patients in the United States are more likely to survive longer than those in Canada, in part because American doctors are more aggressive in reopening clogged arteries.
Canadian researchers found that American heart attack victims are more likely to have revascularization procedures such as angioplasty or bypass surgery. Canadian doctors tend to take a more conservative approach, opting for clot-busting drug therapies before proceeding to surgery.
"The more conservative pattern of care in Canada might have a detrimental effect on survival," said lead author Dr. Padma Kaul of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The research appears in the Sept. 21 online issue of Circulation.
The researchers found Canadian patients' risk of dying was 17 percent higher compared to Americans.
They found this gap was linked to the use of revascularization procedures. Almost one-third of patients in the United States had angioplasty after a heart attack, compared to 11.4 percent in Canada. Bypass surgery followed a similar trend, with more than 13 percent of American patients receiving the procedure compared to 4 percent of Canadian patients.
The National Institutes of Health has more about angioplasty.