Capital Findings for Heart Attack Sufferers

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By Liane Craig

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute researchers recently announced the findings of a study at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, which may improve treatment for heart attack sufferers. The two-year Ottawa area study showed that heart attack patients treated with clot-busting drugs before receiving angioplasty had less than half the likelihood of recurring ischemia, heart attack, stroke and death.

The study, CAPITAL AMI (Combined Angioplasty and Pharmacological Intervention versus Thrombolysis Alone in Acute Myocardial Infarction), involved 170 patients, examining whether the combination of the clot busting drug TNK-tPA with angioplasty was more effective than TNK-tPA alone. Principal investigator Dr. Michel Le May, director of the Heart Institute’s Coronary Care Unit Research Group, said “While angioplasty gives immediate flow to the heart, there is often a delay in getting the patient to the Cath Lab. Giving TNK-tPA in the interim begins the process of opening the artery.” This was not the case 10 years ago with patients experiencing excessive bleeding and more difficult recovery. Today, with improvements in drug therapy and angioplasty technologies, the combined approach led to significantly better results for patients experiencing heart attacks.

It is estimated that 50,000 Canadians are brought to hospital suffering from heart attacks each year. The results of the CAPITAL AMI study may serve as the template for heart attack management in North America, and may have opened the door for additional clinical trials aimed at improving the care for heart attack patients.

The regional partnership for CAPITAL AMI between the Ottawa (General and Civic sites), Montfort, and Queensway-Carleton Hospitals, was made possible by a more than $1.3 million investment from Hoffmann-La Roche Limited, Guidant Corporation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is a global leader in the fight against heart disease and Canada’s only complete cardiac centre, encompassing prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, research and education.