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Routine hospital treatment causes heart attacks
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A standard treatment for heart problems and chest pains - which has been used in hospitals for 144 years - causes heart attacks, researchers have discovered this week

A standard treatment for heart problems and chest pains - which has been used in hospitals for 144 years - causes heart attacks, researchers have discovered this week.
Nitroglycerin - the main ingredient for dynamite - has been routinely given to hospital patients suffering chest pains (angina pectoris) since 1867, and has never been tested for its safety.
When researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine finally did so, they discovered that the drug increases the risks of a heart attack, especially if it is given continuously by intravenous drip. It harms heart tissue, and destroys the enzyme ALDH2, which mops up free radicals and protects the heart from damage when blood flow is restricted.
Overall, the drug doubles the risk of heart attack after it has been given continuously for 16 hours.
(Source: Science Translational Medicine, 2011; 3: 107ra111).


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