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Cycling and surgery have similar effect

12:23pm, December 3, 2002

From Chicago, Ill., at a meeting of the American Heart Association

Among people with chest pain because of clogged heart arteries, regular exercise on a stationary bike reduced symptoms better than surgery did, a team of German physicians has found in a small study.

After a year, just 6 of the 51 of the patients in the study who exercised had either died or gone back to the hospital for additional procedures, while 15 of the 50 patients who had angioplasty had died or had another procedure. In angioplasty, a surgeon clears heart arteries using a wire threaded through a vein from the patient's leg. In all the angioplasty patients, the surgeon also implanted a mesh device to keep the arteries open.

Stephan Gielan of the University of Leipzig Heart Center suggests that the exercise therapy benefits the whole cardiovascular system, whereas angioplasty plus the mesh implant opens clogged arteries only at particular sites.

Gielan also notes that the no-su

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