Angioplasty, a procedure to open blocked arteries, can be performed safely and effectively at community hospitals that don't have on-site cardiac surgery units, according to a recent study.

The study included nearly 19,000 patients who had elective angioplasty either at a facility with a cardiac surgery unit or at one of 60 community hospitals that didn't have on-site cardiac surgery but met certain requirements.

The centers had to complete a formal angioplasty development program to prepare their staffs and establish policies and protocols, and also had to demonstrate a capacity to perform at least 200 angioplasties a year.

The researchers followed the patients for nine months after their procedures. There was no difference in death rates between patients who underwent angioplasty at facilities with cardiac surgery units or at community hospitals, and no significant differences in rates of complications including bleeding, kidney failure and stroke.

"The study shows that under certain circumstances, non-primary angioplasty can be performed safely and effectively at hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery," lead investigator Thomas Aversano, MD, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, said in an American College of Cardiology (ACC) news release.

Until recently, community hospitals without cardiac surgery units performed only emergency angioplasties. Patients who required elective surgery were transferred to facilities with cardiac surgery units. That changed when the ACC and the American Heart Association introduced new guidelines.

"The study supports and reinforces the [new] guidelines," Dr. Aversano said.

The study was presented at the ACC annual meeting in Chicago. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Home Health Care Patients Over-Medicated!

Home health care is linked to unsafe medication use.

Recent study: A review of 3,124 adults ages 65 and older receiving home health care (from visiting nurses, for example) found that nearly 40% were taking at least one drug considered inappropriate for seniors-twice as high as older adults who did not receive home health care.

Possible reason: Home-health-care patients tend to take more drugs than similarly aged adults. These drugs are often prescribed by a variety of doctors, with little coordination regarding the drugs taken by a patient.

Don't Let the Bedbugs Kill You

More than 100 people were sickened by the insecticides between 2003 and 2010—and one person died.

Reasons for the illnesses: Overuse of the insecticides...failing to wash or change bedding that had been treated with the insecticides,

Self-defense: Call in a certified professional to handle a bedbug problem.

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