`Super aspirin' for post-op care

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The Independent Online
A new kind of "super-aspirin" can dramatically reduce the risk of complications and death, following one of the latest types of heart surgery, a study has shown.

About 40 per cent of patients needing heart surgery now have a procedure called angioplasty, which involves opening up a blocked artery with a tiny balloon or metal mesh tube. The alternative is a bypass operation, in which surgeons open up the chest and insert a vein to re-route the blood supplying the heart around the blocked vessel.

At present the risk of having a heart attack, dying, or needing further surgery in the 30 days after angioplasty is 11.7 per cent. But the new research has shown that the risk drops to between 5.2 per cent and 5.4 per cent when patients are given the "super-aspirin" ReoPro in conjunction with the anticoagulant drug heparin.

The findings, from a study in the US and Canada, were published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.