The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2011

More heart-attack patients now than five years ago are getting a potentially life-saving procedure to open blocked arteries within the recommended time frame, a new study shows. The so-called "door-to-balloon" time refers to how long it takes for heart attack patients who need an angioplasty -- an opening of the blocked artery using a catheter -- to receive one once they've gotten to the hospital. The recommendation is to get the procedure within 90 minutes. Every minute is precious, because the longer patients go without the procedure, which restore blood flow to the heart, the lower their odds of survival. In 2005, only 44% of patients were getting treated within the recommended 90 minutes. But by 2010, that had increased to 91%, with 70% treated in less than 75 minutes, according to the study, published in Circulation. The median D2B time fell to 64 minutes from 96 minutes.

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