Dr. Stefan James, of Uppsala University Hospital, who co-led the research group, Photo: Anna Larsson/Sveriges Radio.

Unnecessary treatment for heart attacks

According to a Swedish study presented Sunday at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Amsterdam, half of those treated for acute heart attacks undergo unnecessary treatment to remove the blood clot responsible.

 “We wanted to see if part of the treatment for acute heart attacks reduced the risk of dying, that is using suction to remove the clot from the heart”, Senior Physician Stefan James of Uppsala University Hospital tells Swedish Radio News. “Now we know that this method doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help either.”

The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, reviewed the treatment of 7200 patients in Sweden who have suffered from an acute heart attack. In nearly half the cases, surgeons used suction to remove (aspirated) the blood clot that was the cause of the attack. But the researchers found no difference in survival rates.

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