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New 'rapid response' emergency service to prevent heart attacks

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A major teaching hospital in London has announced that it is launching a new ‘rapid response’ emergency service aimed at preventing heart attacks.

Patients with chest pains who have partially blocked coronary arteries will be focused on by doctors from Barts and the London NHS Trust.

Because the condition can often go undetected for weeks or months, high risk patients will be identified and transferred immediately from local accident and emergency departments to the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green.

A series of tests will then be performed to ascertain whether their arteries are severely narrowed or blocked by blood clots.

If the patients test positive for the problem, a procedure will be performed which places a balloon-like device into the artery to open up the passage - known as angioplasty. Treated patients should be able to return home within 48 hours.

Professor Martin Rothman, senior cardiologist at Barts and The London Heart and Chest Centre, said: ‘By doing this we will be saving patients now from having heart attacks in the future.

‘The new service will act as an early warning system for heart attack which is probably the best contingency measure one could ask for.’

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