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Real benefits to stenting multiple blocked arteries, not just the one that caused a heart attack, study says (Dr. David Wood)

Dr. David Wood with stent and model of heart at Vancouver General Hospital. Photo: Arlen Redekop/Postmedia ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG
Dr. David Wood with stent and model of heart at Vancouver General Hospital. Photo: Arlen Redekop/Postmedia ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

Unblocking additional plaque or cholesterol-clogged coronary arteries with stents after a heart attack — instead of just the one that caused the heart attack — leads to a reduction in the risk of dying or having another heart attack, a multinational study involving B.C. experts and patients shows.

Experts predict the “landmark” study will have immediate implications for heart attack patients as interventional cardiologists will now stent additional coronary arteries with significant narrowing (more than 70 per cent) instead of just the culprit artery that caused the heart attack. There are three major coronary arteries and when heart attack patients have one blocked artery, it is not unusual to see blockages in the others. That is referred to as multi-vessel coronary artery disease.

“In the past, the gestalt was you do an immediate angioplasty to open the culprit blocked artery and then do less with the other ones, put patients on meds and monitor them instead of fixing the additional blockages at the same time or right after,” said Dr. David Wood, the Vancouver co-principal investigator and director of the Vancouver General Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

Read the full story in the Vancouver Sun.

Similar story also found in The Globe and Mail.

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