Blood-Thinning Drug May Improve Clot-Busting Treatment, Save Lives

October 06, 1997

DALLAS, Oct. 7 -- For treating heart attacks, the blood thinner hirulog is better than heparin when added to a "clot-buster" to dissolve blood clots and reopen clogged arteries, according to a report in today's American Heart Association journal Circulation.

New Zealand researchers found that individuals given hirulog were more likely to have their arteries "open up" following the clot-busting or thrombolytic treatment. Streptokinase was the thrombolytic used in this study.

"At 48 hours, the artery has opened up in 35 percent of heparin and 48 percent of high-dose hirulog patients," reports Harvey White, M.D., of the cardiology department at Green Lane Hospital. The study included 412 patients: 140 were given heparin, 136 were given low-dose hirulog and 136 were given high-dose hirulog.

Researchers point out that within the first 24 hours after clot-busing treatment, about 5-15 percent of individuals may have new clots forming, a problem that, in some cases, causes death.

White says a large clinical trial will be conducted in 17,000 patients to find out if hirulog given before streptokinase will improve survival. Early successful reperfusion or reopening is normally associated with survival.

Contact: Dr. White can be reached at 64-9-630-9992.

American Heart Association

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