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Heart Attack Study

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It's a top killer in the U.S. even more so in the south. "Every minute there's somebody getting a heart attack "

The first is frightening enough. But some have a second.

"Even if (there's) a person has all the right medications, the right statin, the cholesterol is low, they've quit smoking, they're exercising, they're still at a significant risk of having another heart attack and that's one of the things we don't understand well."

If you've had a heart attack now you can be part of an international study to see if a medication can prevent a second one. It's already approved to lower inflammation for another genetic condition, but could it also lower the inflammation in the arteries of the heart that are thought to contribute to heart attacks?

"It's got the advantage that it's only given once every three months by injection so it's not a pill that you have to take every day."

Doctors will do a blood test to measure a heart attack predictor called your c-reactive protein levels.

"If the patient's level is high, they have a high risk of having another event and so those are the ones we want to actually include in the study. "  

60% - 80% of heart attacks are caused by lifestyle, uncontrolled high blood pressure, excessive weight, diabetes and smoking. Those can be prevented or managed by us. Now doctors are hoping to go beyond lifestyle change and statin drugs - one of the most prescribed drugs in the world.

"The recurrance of a second heart attack is probably as high as 10% or 15% a year even with maximal therapy so this is a big issue"

The Cantos study will involve more than 17,000 heart attack survivors worldwide.

For more information on the study go to http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01327846

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