Cardiologists Call for New Approach in Treating Chest Pain

In a joint statement by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), physicians are calling for a more aggressive approach to evaluating patients presenting with chest pain (unstable angina)—and quickly determining whether the therapeutic approach should be medical, invasive or a combination of two.

Guidelines released today by the ACC encourage the early use of tests such as a stress test, an echocardiogram or a radionuclide angiogram (which visualizes the coronary arteries) in patients considered stable.

Cessation of smoking, lowering blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol are all part of the effort to lower the risk of heart attack.

The new guidelines call for an LDL cholesterol to be lower than 100 mg/dL, with a target number of 70 mg/dL. Blood pressure should be lower than 140/90.

A significant new recommendation is the guideline to cease prescribing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for post-menopausal women.