This medical video looks at the health benefits of cooling your heart.
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Jennifer Matthews: It was just like any other day for Betty Alexander Betty Alexander: We got up, drank coffee, read the paper, had breakfast. Jennifer Matthews: Then she had a heart attack. Betty Alexander: I had never had any heart history. We have eaten what I thought was heart healthy for quite some time -- many years -- and so this was a complete surprise. Jennifer Matthews: Today, Betty is recovering well, thanks, in part, to an experimental treatment. It cools the body to 91 degrees directly following a heart attack. Dr. Warren Johnson: It helps protect the heart muscle while we're getting the arteries open and also provides the heart with some additional recovery time. Jennifer Matthews: During a heart attack, the heart continues to suffer damage until the blocked arteries are re-opened. Dr. Johnson says, by cooling the body intravenously, they can preserve more of a patient's heart muscle. Early studies show, on average, the amount of tissue death in the heart was nearly 60-percent less in patients who received the treatment. Dr. Warren Johnson: This is a new novel idea for treating heart attack patients that I think is going to make a big difference in many of our patients. Jennifer Matthews: Betty says she feels better now than she did before her heart attack. Still, she's not taking chances. Betty Alexander: There are things that I want to do and I don't want to wait to do them. I want to do them as soon as possible. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.