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D. The Best Options For Certain Heart Attack Patients


Narrator: This is Science Today. Each year, about 100 thousand elderly Americans with a heart condition called left bundle-branch block will have a heart attack. These patients have a small area of damaged heart tissue that doesn't allow an electrical current to pass through in a normal manner. Dr. Michael Shlipak of the University of California, San Francisco, says this skews ECG readings and leads to under-treatment.


Shilpak: In patients with left bundle-branch block, it's never been known exactly what the likelihood of them having a heart attack when they come in with chest pain. We know that they're high risk, we know they are likely to die if they do have a heart attack, but if they come in with chest pain, we've never know what to do.


Narrator: In a recent study, Shilpak found the best option is to treat these patients with either thrombolytic therapy or angioplasty.


Shilpak: Now, the important thing from the public health point of view is that the current utilization of these therapies is very low. As physicians, we have a long way to go towards optimally treating them and that was part of the conclusions of our paper.


Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.