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Drugs Can Save Hearts and Cash

from the (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer

It's much cheaper and just as effective to treat some heart attacks with drugs instead of also trying to snake a stent into a clogged artery, scientists at Duke University report today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings could prompt significant savings for many of the estimated 1.2 million Americans who suffer heart attacks each year. Wire mesh stents open clogged arteries and can save lives when used within a few hours of a heart attack, but they're no more beneficial than clot-busting drugs alone if the attack occurred a day or so before the patient sought treatment.

Forgoing stents in those cases could save an average of $7,000 per patient—or $700 million for the estimated 100,000 U.S. heart attack patients who don't need them.

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