Angioplasty, drugs found equal in heart care
I know the Department of Veterans Affairs does a lot of research on illnesses. Are there any recent findings related to heart surgery?
Answer: The research, involving nearly 2,300 patients at 15 VA medical centers and 35 other facilities in the United States and Canada, compared standard cardiac drug treatments to a procedure called angioplasty, in which clogged arteries are kept open by wire-mesh tubes. Patients receiving angioplasty also received medication to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and prevent clots. After five years, the study found equal rates of mortality, nonfatal heart attacks, strokes and hospitalizations in patients receiving angioplasty and medication, compared to those who received only medication. The results were published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. Other studies have shown angioplasty can help patients with more severe heart disease.
Last year, VA was responsible for more than $1.6 billion in medical research. The VA here is closely affiliated with the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine.
Q: What if I have another disability not previously claimed?
A: VA form 21-4138, statement in support of claim, may be used. To establish a condition as service-connected, the VA will need any information that will help it link the condition to your service. You should also submit current medical evidence. Include your VA claim number or Social Security number on all correspondence. Bring the completed form or other written request and any evidence you have to the Honolulu VA office at Tripler Army Medical Center's E-wing, ground floor. Call (800) 827-1000 for more information.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.