A study by the Good Samaritan Hospital Heart Institute in Los Angeles showed that people who have no angina pain before a heart attack are almost twice as likely to die from the attack as those who had suffered angina. And, recently, British scientists have discovered that the intense pain suffered during a heart attack may help save lives. Blocking it with powerful drugs may worsen the victim’s chances of survival.

They found that during a heart attack, pain signals from cardiac nerves help to attract stem cells from bone marrow to repair damage, and restore blood flow after a clot has starved the heart of oxygen-carrying blood. Apparently each painful episode of angina may actually toughen the cardiac muscle, so it will survive a heart attack with less damage.

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