Blood Thinner Protects Heart Patients

Abciximab boosted survival after angioplasty, stent placement, study found

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TUESDAY, March 14, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-clotting drug abciximab reduced the risk of heart attack and other adverse events in heart patients receiving angioplasty or artery-opening stents, German researchers report.

The study included more than 2,000 patients with ACS (a spectrum of conditions involving chest discomfort or other symptoms) undergoing these types of procedures. Some patients received abciximab while others received an inactive placebo. All the patients also received a 600 milligram dose of the anti-platelet agent clopidogrel (Plavix) at least two hours prior to the procedure, as well as 500 milligrams of oral or intravenous aspirin.

Within 30 days, 90 patients (8.9 percent) in the abciximab group had died, suffered a heart attack, or required urgent target vessel revascularization, compared to 120 patients (11.9 percent) in the placebo group. This translated into a 25 percent reduced risk among the patients who received abciximab, said the researchers led by Dr. Adnan Kastrati of the Deutsches Herzzentrum, in Munich. Most of the risk reduction was related to fewer deaths and heart attacks.

The findings will be published in the April 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, but were released early due to their publication Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, in Atlanta.

The German team also found that the benefits of abciximab seemed confined to patients with elevated levels of troponin, a muscle protein that's present in increased amounts in patients with cardiac ischemia.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about angioplasty and stenting.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, March 13, 2006

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