A new study shows how the risk of death and heart attack can be reduced for heart patients undergoing an angioplasty. It was found that doubling the usual dose of an anti-clotting drug before the procedure is the answer.
Angioplasty is a procedure in which a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded into an artery. The balloon is inflated to compress plaque in the artery and unblock the vessel. A small synthetic tube - stent is used to hold the vessel open, but arteries often re-close if blood clots form to protect the body against bleeding.
Patients commonly take the drug clopidogrel (Plavix) before angioplasty to prevent clotting. In this new study, patients received either the standard dose of 300 milligrams or received a dose of 600 milligrams before the procedure.
Following angioplasty it was found out that, 12 percent of patients who took the lower dose died, had a heart attack or needed another procedure. In contrast, only 4 percent of patients in the high-dose group had such an event. Doubling the dosage did not increase the risk of bleeding.
In conclusion, it was evident that the high-dose patients had a 48-percent reduction in heart attack risk compared to those given the standard dose. Additionally, a subgroup of patients taking the higher dose as well as the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins had an 80-percent reduction.