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Nation in brief: Study says surgery better than stents

Thu., Jan. 24, 2008

Bypass surgery remains the best option for heart patients with more than one clogged artery, according to the first big study to compare bypass with drug-coated stents.

The new research dims hopes that the less drastic stent procedure would prove to be just as good for people with multiple blockages.

In the study, heart attack and death rates were lower among people who had surgery than those given artery-opening balloon angioplasty and stents – mesh cylinders oozing drugs to keep vessels from reclogging.

It is the latest setback for drug-coated stents, which have revolutionized heart care and have been implanted in about 6 million people worldwide. They are far better at keeping vessels open than older bare-metal stents. However, sales have been hurt in the past year by safety concerns and studies questioning the value of angioplasty itself for certain patients.

The study was published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Reno, Nev.

Cutting down trees a federal offense

A woman has been indicted on charges that she had three large trees up to a century old cut down on sensitive federal land near Lake Tahoe to improve her view, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Officials said they weren’t aware of any similar federal prosecutions.

Patricia M. Vincent, 58, was indicted last week on charges of theft of government property and willingly damaging government property. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

The three ponderosa pines stood on a plot the U.S. Forest Service had designated as environmentally sensitive as part of a water quality plan to help protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe.

The indictment accuses Vincent of hiring a commercial tree removal business in April to cut down the trees to enhance her view in Incline Village, one of the wealthiest towns on the shore of the mountain resort lake.


Infant badly burned at hospital

Oxygen ignited inside a special hood worn by a newborn infant in a hospital, burning the boy’s head and face and leaving him in critical condition.

The newborn was lying in an open-topped bassinet under a warmer at Mercy Hospital in suburban Coon Rapids on Tuesday when the accident happened, Allina Hospital and Clinics said in a statement.

The baby, just 12 hours old and named Maverick, was wearing an oxygen hood, a device that fits over the face to supply additional oxygen, when something caused the gas to ignite, the statement read.

Nurses who were with the baby immediately put out the fire, Allina said. Authorities were investigating how the fire started.


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