Like former president Bill Clinton, all too many people in this country experience chest pain at some time. Exceeded only by abdominal pain, chest pain is the predominant reason people visit the emergency room. The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that 6.8 million Americans have chronic stable angina and 750,000 Americans were hospitalized in 2001 because of unstable angina (UA). In all, coronary artery disease (CAD), which can manifest as stable angina or acute coronary syndrome (ACS)—UA, non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), or ST-segment elevation MI (STEMI)—is responsible for 1.3 million hospitalizations annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States.

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