This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
A condition called atrial fibrillation produces an abnormal heartbeat. People feel their heart race and they lose their breath. It may last a few seconds, but it can get worse and worse with age, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Doctors generally treat atrial fibrillation with drugs. But a new study shows that another treatment may have better results for patients who were not helped by drug therapy.
|Doctor David Wilber performs a catheter ablation|
Researchers studied more than one hundred fifty patients who had failed to respond to at least one drug in the past. In the study, about one hundred of them had catheter ablation. The others were treated with more drugs. There was a nine-month follow-up period to compare the effectiveness.
Doctor David Wilber at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois was the lead author of the study. He says catheter ablation worked in sixty to seventy percent of the patients. By comparison, abnormal heartbeats returned in eighty to ninety percent of those treated with drugs.
But Doctor Wilber says catheter ablation is not meant to be the first treatment choice for atrial fibrillation. He suggests it only when drug therapy fails to work. The study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
|Bill Clinton arrives Tuesday at funeral services for John Murtha, longtime congressman from Pennsylvania|
Bill Clinton was taken to a New York hospital last Thursday and released the next day.
His heart doctor, Alan Schwartz, said the former president had been feeling pressure in his chest for several days.
ALAN SCHWARTZ: "He had been having episodes of chest discomfort that were brief in nature. But because they were repetitive, he contacted me and came in."
The American College of Cardiology says one in five patients who receive angioplasty has already had heart bypass surgery. That includes Bill Clinton. He had a major operation because of blockages in two thousand four. Doctors say it is common for heart patients to need new stents over time.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report. I'm Bob Doughty.