Science / Medicine : Anti-Clotting Drug Praised

From Times staff and wire reports

An anti-clotting drug appears to sharply reduce the chances that patients suffering from severe chest pain will be stricken by heart attacks, Canadian researchers report.

Researchers from the University of Montreal found that both aspirin and the long-used drug heparin significantly reduced the chances that those experiencing chest pain would have heart attacks. The study found that heparin appears to be more effective than aspirin, and there is no apparent benefit from giving patients both aspirin and heparin, the researchers reported.

"I think this is highly significant," said Dr. Pierre Theroux, a professor of medicine and a cardiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute, who headed the study. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Bernadine Healy, president of the American Heart Assn., said the study should encourage the routine use of heparin in patients experiencing severe or sudden chest pain, which is known as acute unstable angina.

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