There's never been a better time to be treated for a heart attack. U.S. hospitals have set a record for how quickly they open blocked arteries, averaging under one hour for the first time since these results have been tracked.
More than 93 percent of patients now have their arteries opened within the recommended 90 minutes of arrival.
"Things have definitely improved" from a decade ago, when less than half of heart attack patients were treated that fast, said Dr. Fred Masoudi, a University of Colorado cardiologist who led a recent report examining response times.
It's based on records from about 85 percent of U.S. hospitals that do the artery procedure, angioplasty . Through a blood vessel in the groin or an arm, doctors guide a tube to the blockage causing the heart attack. They inflate a tiny balloon to flatten the clog, and leave behind a mesh tube called a stent to prop the artery open.