Preventive angioplasty in heart attack patients cuts the risk of death and other serious complications, according to research by cardiologists.
The 'PRAMI study' involved 465 patients recruited between 2008 and 2013 and was conducted at specialist heart centres across the UK, including the London Chest, Norfolk and Norwich, Newcastle and Glasgow's Golden Jubilee.
It concluded that heart attack patients who had stents – thin cylindrical metal mesh tubes – placed in their other narrowed arteries at the same time as the one that triggered the heart attack were 64 per cent less likely to die, suffer another serious heart attack or have severe angina over the subsequent two years. There are around 103,000 heart attacks in the UK each year, according to the British Heart Foundation.
Professor Colin Berry, a co-author of the study from the University of Glasgow, said: "Currently, following a heart attack, patients undergo an emergency operation called an angioplasty. During this procedure, a stent is inserted into the blocked artery to restore normal blood function. However, around half of patients also have significant narrowing in other arteries which could cause another heart attack in the future.
"Historical guidelines recommend that only the artery which caused the heart attack should be treated, but our research shows improved outcomes for patients when all narrowed arteries are treated simultaneously."
Senior author, Professor Keith Oldroyd, based at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, said: "The PRAMI trial shows very clearly that patients have a much better outcome if other narrowed arteries are stented at the same time as the one that triggered the attack. This strategy is also much more cost effective for the Health Service."
The Golden Jubilee is one of the UK's leading 'heart attack centres' with a concentration of resources, skills and expertise within the centre has enabled this state of the art national hospital to lead the way in research, development and academic activity which ensures innovation and improvements in patient care.
The research was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
More information: www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1305520