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Local Hospital Tests A New Way To Handle Heart Attacks

By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--A local hospital is testing a new way to handle heart attack patients in an effort to prevent heart damage.

Following a heart attack, doctors normally open the artery to restore blood flood to the heart as quickly as possible, but that rapid response can cause further damage, according to Dr. Howard Cohen, Director of Interventional Cardiology at Temple University Hospital.

Temple is testing a procedure that delays opening the artery. Instead, the patient is hooked up to a pump that does the work for the heart.

Cohen says, "By letting the heart relax and not having to work not use all its oxygen to pump but hopefully to spend its energy on repair and preventing further damage that we may be able to preserve more heart muscle and improve the function that results."

He says after the heart is rested, the blood flow is restored. Tests on animals showed this procedure reduced heart damage by 50 percent.

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