In spite of the best efforts….

The New York Times this weekend ran the first of a series on the nation’s top killer diseases. The focus on Sunday was on heart disease.

The article helped to explain why half a million people die each year from heart attacks, in spite of the knowledge that is available to treat and prevent the condition from getting worse. The article explains how the disease continues to be the top killer:

  • Only a small fraction of the nation’s acute care hospitals offer a
    treatment,
    angioplasty, that can open blocked arteries. Yet many other hospitals are reluctant to divert patients there because heart attack patients are so lucrative.
  • If patients get proper treatment within an hour of when their attack began,
    most, if not all, of the heart damage can be prevented. Only 10 percent get to a hospital that soon.
  • Half the people who need to be treated to prevent heart attacks are not
    treated and half who are treated are treated inadequately. Patients go home with the wrong drugs or the wrong doses or misimpressions about the importance of aking their medications.
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