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Treating heart attacks with blood thinners

Cathy Anne Pinto; Tommi Tervonen

A myocardial infarction, or what is commonly known as a ‘heart attack’, happens when the large blood vessels that support the heart (known as the coronary arteries) are blocked and a part of the heart is deprived of oxygen. The blockage of your arteries is caused by a buildup of blood fats (cholesterol) and other substances in the artery walls. Without oxygen, muscle cells in the heart begin to die, which means you need to have medical treatment as soon as possible. 

In this study, we asked more than 300 patients about their preferences- approximately half in the acute stage and half in the chronic stage of their disease. Most of them were men, on average, 64 years old. Many of the patients also had other medical conditions, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, and several of them had already used medicines that thin the blood. All patients had been hospitalized after a heart-attack, they were over 18 and living in England. We asked them about their preferences when it comes to heart attack medications. Hoping to find how much value a person gives different risks and benefits of a particular treatment, and how they balance between them.

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