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Heart doctors attending the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting Sunday were faced with a key treatment issue: They may not be doing nearly enough to diagnose and treat high cholesterol.

Over the next four days, doctors will examine the roles of new beta-blocker drugs to treat coronary disease, increased use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, and other new techniques in improving the lives of patients with heart disease.

The meeting follows a scientific session last fall in which researchers reported aggressive treatment for high cholesterol saves lives by reducing complications in patients with heart disease and preventing the disease in those who do not already have it.

"We need to convince physicians to be more diligent about looking for and treating abnormal cholesterol," said Dr. David Silverman of the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmingham, Conn.

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