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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Hospital gives patients wine
Heart attack patient with glass of red wine
Patients are encouraged to drink two glasses of red wine a day
Heart attack victims at a Wiltshire hospital are being given two glasses of wine a day during their stay.

Patients on the cardiac ward are being encouraged to enjoy a daily tipple to cut their risk of further heart problems.

Studies have found that drinking two glasses of red wine a day can cut the chance of having a stroke by 20% and a heart attack by 50%

And Swindon's Great Western Hospital says it is the first in Europe to test the theory by giving wine to patients.

Cabernet sauvignon

The wine is provided by the hospital's charity rather than the NHS.

Nurse opening bottle of red wine
Studies show red wine can reduce the risk of heart attacks by 50%

And the cardiologist behind the scheme believes it will pay off.

Dr William McCrea said: "Red wine contains antioxidants.

"These are the chemicals which stop blood clotting and stop the build up of cholesterol in blood vessels."

Patient Richard Corcoran said: "It feels like warm aspirin - I can feel it going around my system."

Wines from the Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Shiraz grapes are thought to be most effective at tackling the risk of heart problems.

Patients with previous alcohol problems are not being encouraged to take part in the scheme.

The BBC's Matthew Hill
"Patients are given two glasses a day"

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