How To Mend A Broken Heart

In one of the first success stories to come out of gene-therapy research, doctors are learning how to teach the heart to heal itself

Every year some 400,000 Americans undergo bypass surgery to shunt the flow of blood around blocked arteries in their heart; 500,000 other patients opt for a different procedure called angioplasty, which clears a channel through the bottlenecks with thin, inflatable balloons. Most people who have these operations get what they so desperately want--a second chance at life. But the results are usually temporary. After a few years the bypass graft or the reopened artery becomes clogged with new deposits, which often require a second round of treatment. For an estimated 1 in 10 patients, the heart becomes so scarred that nothing...

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