This medical video explores the drug combo that could save the heart.
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Jennifer Matthews: Today, Dick Croake is recovering from a heart procedure that cleared a 90-percent blocked artery. Dick Croake: The physician who did the procedure said, 'If you hadn't come in, something bad would have happened.' Jennifer Matthews: To prevent a heart attack, Dick is taking a quartet of drugs. Dick Croake: I feel a bit like a chemical broth at the moment. Jennifer Matthews: Cardiologist Debabrata Mukherjee says it's a smart step. Dr. Debabrata Mukherjee: There are four classes of drugs that are currently recommended in all patients that present to the hospital either with worsening chest pain or with a heart attack. Jennifer Matthews: Those drugs are: ace inhibitors to lower blood pressure; statins to lower cholesterol; anti-platelets, which include aspirin and plavix; and beta-blockers, which lower blood pressure but have other benefits too. Dr. Debabrata Mukherjee: All four should be started at once, rather than individually one at a time. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors know each of the drugs is important, but they didn't realize the cumulative effect of taking all four until now. A new study shows taking all four lowers the risk of death more than 90 percent after six months. The American Heart Association recommends the drugs for heart patients, but that doesn't always happen. Dr. Debabrata Mukherjee: There is still a gap between optimal care of patients and what is recommended in the guidelines. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Mukherjee tells heart patients to ask their doctors about the drugs. Dick feels safer knowing he's getting the best care. Dick Croake: I feel guardedly optimistic. I said to my wife this morning, 'It is great to be alive.' Jennifer Matthews: Now, he's focusing more on the scenery and less on his heart. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.