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Major advances in techniques, devices, medications spur update of PCI guidelines

DALLAS-- For patients suffering the crushing pain of a heart attack, the trip of a lifetime may be to a hospital prepared to quickly open the blocked artery by inflating a small balloon and inserting a tiny metal structure called a stent to act as permanent scaffolding. The goal: to restore blood flow to the heart muscle within 90 minutes of the patient's arrival at the hospital. That is just one of many recommendations in updated guidelines on percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), jointly released today by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. The guidelines will be the subject of a joint news conference held today , Nov. 13, at 3 p.m., CST, at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

It is an aggressive goal, said Sidney C. Smith, Jr, M.D., FAHA, FACC, who headed the guideline writing committee and is a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "The science shows that patients truly benefit from a 'door-to-balloon time' of 90 minutes or less. We have consistently looked at where the science says we should be, and challenged ourselves."

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) encompasses a variety of procedures used to treat patients with diseased arteries of the heart -- for example, chest pain caused by a build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances from the blood (referred to as plaque) that can reduce blood flow to a near-trickle, or a heart attack caused by a large blood clot that completely blocks the artery.

Typically, PCI is performed by threading a slender balloon-tipped tube--a catheter--from an artery in the groin to a trouble-spot in an artery of the heart. The interventional cardiologist then inflates the balloon to open the coronary artery, often also inserting an expandable metal stent.

The PCI Guideli
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
13-Nov-2005


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