Here are some other reports from the American College of Cardiology meeting in Anaheim:
JUST SHOOT ME For heart patients, there's good reason to get a flu shot, aside from preventing a dreaded bout of fever, aches and pains. The shot may reduce the risk of a heart attack. A small study suggests that influenza inoculations can cut the odds of suffering a second heart attack by as much as two-thirds. How come? Researchers think an influenza infection may inflame artery-clogging plaque, making it more likely to break off and trigger a heart attack.
VIAGRA, UP OR DOWN? A confusing week for Viagra users. Preliminary analysis of cases reported to the FDA has found 1,500 heart attacks, arrhythmias and strokes--some fatal--in men who popped the impotence pill. Particularly troubling, most of the guys probably weren't on nitrates for angina or hypertension. (Nitrates are a no-no when taking Viagra.) Scary? Another study--financed by Pfizer, Viagra's maker--concludes that heart problems from the drug are rare, at least among low-risk men. If you're at all worried, check with your doc before checking out Viagra.
VICTORIOUS VENOM More than half a million patients each year have their clogged arteries Roto-Rootered with balloon angioplasty. Now researchers report that a new clot-busting drug, Integrilin, derived from--hiss!--snake venom, can cut the risk of death and heart attack 40% during the first 48 hours after angioplasty. Integrilin, like its top rival ReoPro, belongs to the "superaspirin" class of drugs. There's at least one difference: ReoPro costs $1,500; Integrilin, $400.
--By Janice M. Horowitz