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Reduced 'Door-To-Balloon' Time Helping to Save Heart Attack Patients

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Most heart attacks are caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood through an artery.  In a medical emergency, the time it takes to get a patient to treatment can be a matter of life or death.  When a heart attack patient arrives at a hospital, the faster blood-flow is re-established, the greater the chance of their survival.  "Door-To-Balloon time" or D2B is what healthcare professionals call the time between a patient's arrival at a hospital, to the time a balloon catheter or stent is inflated in the blocked artery.  

A new study by Yale School of Medicine finds that almost all heart attack patients who need this emergency artery-opening procedure, also known as angioplasty, are now receiving it within 90 minutes of walking through the hospital door.  In 2010, 91 percent of these patients were treated in a D2B time of less than 90 minutes; many (70 percent), in under 75-minutes.

That's a dramatic increase from just five years ago when only half as many patients (44 percent) received treatment in 90-minutes, the recommended time.

This improvement marks a great success for the healthcare community and their nationally coordinated campaign to get these times down, known as the "D2B Alliance."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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