Reports From the Field: Updated guidelines available for treating unstable angina

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have updated the practice guidelines on management of unstable angina and a related form of heart attack known as non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).

The two conditions account for 1.4 million hospitalizations a year. The guidelines are an update to a previous version released a little over a year ago and include the latest information from research into the two common and dangerous conditions.

"We’ve learned more in a year about unstable angina and NSTEMI than we did in the previous 20 years. The clinical landscape has changed substantially," says Eugene Braunwald, MD, who chaired the panel that developed the guidelines.

The updated guidelines strongly recommend that high-risk patients have cardiac catheterization shortly after their admission and rule out the use of glycoprotien IIb/IIIA inhibitors except for patients having an invasive procedure such as a balloon angioplasty or stenting.

The guidelines are available at the ACC web site at www.acc.org and the AHA web site at www.americanheart.org