Study: Some elderly don't receive appropriate heart attack care

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People over the age of 75, women and minorities are among the 10% of eligible patients who don't receive emergency angioplasty and clot-busting drugs to treat their heart attack, according to new study results.

Emergency reperfusion - angioplasty and clot-busing drugs to reopen clogged arteries - can be a lifesaving treatment and prevent damage to the heart, but 10% of patients do not receive the emergency therapies, the study found. Researchers led by cardiologists at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and the Yale University School of Medicine analyzed national data on more than 238,000 people who had heart attacks between 1994 and 2003.

The percentage of eligible patients who did not receive the emergency therapies declined from more than 20% to 10% over the 10-year period. Still, researchers believe too many are still missing out on appropriate treatment. This study is published in the American Journal of Medicine.