Study finds cheaper drug works best for emergency heart attack treatment

5 July 2014        

Man gets chest pain

Using the anti-coagulant drug heparin whilst undergoing emergency treatment for a heart attack could reduce your risk of further cardiac events and save the NHS millions of pounds, researchers say.

The Liverpool-based study compared the outcomes of more than 1,800 patients who were given either heparin or bivalirudin as part of their treatment to prevent blood clots from forming whilst undergoing emergency angioplasty.

The findings showed those who were given heparin were less likely to suffer a major ischaemic event such as another heart attack or a stroke than those who took bivalirudin which is more expensive.

Researchers claim the results could provide significant cost savings to the health service.

Amy Thompson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The findings of this study may bring into question previous comparisons of the two drugs which are both commonly used in the UK. Further evidence is needed, and health bodies may wish to consider evidence like this when revising guidelines in the future.

“However, both drugs are very effective and it’s thanks to treatments like these why more and more people are surviving heart attacks every day. But early intervention is paramount. When someone suffers a heart attack time is of the essence to get them the emergency treatment they need to survive.

“If you suspect someone is suffering symptoms of a heart attack don’t delay in calling 999.”