The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the findings of the DANAMI-2 clinical trial. This trial evaluated treatment options for patients with heart attacks by comparing results from two different treatments – the use of clot-dissolving drugs vs. the use of primary angioplasty procedures.

In this study, patients with heart attacks were first evaluated in community hospital emergency rooms. If the community hospital did not have angioplasty capabilities, the patient was transferred to a full service hospital that could provide emergency angioplasty procedures. Almost 1,600 patients were enrolled in the study to determine whether or not the type of treatment influenced the complication rates of mortality, disabling stroke or another heart attack within 30 days.

The findings revealed that the patient group that had primary angioplasty had only an 8.5% rate of complications compared to 14.2% for the clot-dissolving group even if the patient had to be transferred from a community hospital. The study also found that these results were slightly better for patients who were treated first at a hospital that offers invasive treatments rather than those transferred from other hospitals. Other studies have also demonstrated that the benefit of primary angioplasty depends on the number of angioplasty procedures a hospital performs and the experience level of the physicians.

Angioplasty may not be the most appropriate treatment for all heart attacks; only a physician can determine the best course of treatment. Patients with heart attack symptoms such as chest, arm or neck pain, with sweating or nausea or vomiting should seek medical attention.

Cardiologists perform hundreds of angioplasty procedures at Riverside Regional Medical Center every year. For more than 25 years physicians at Riverside have defined the standard for quality cardiac care in our community. Riverside Regional Medical Center and our physician partners are the area leaders in cardiac care and the only local hospital providing the full range of sophisticated cardiac services including open heart surgery and primary angioplasty procedures.

For more information contact John Peterman, Riverside Cardiac Services, at (757) 594-3309.

Published: August 27, 2003