Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Continued Debate Over Heart Stent Use

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Debate Widens Over Stent Use In Heart Cases, by Ron Winslow and Keith J. Winstein.  Here's an excerpt:

Popular medical devices called stents proved no better than aggressive use of heart medicines in preventing heart attacks and death in a controversial study that is roiling the field of cardiology.

The findings add to a growing body of research suggesting that the tiny metal scaffolds -- which are implanted in about one million U.S. patients a year to prop open diseased coronary arteries -- are being used too often to treat disease that is stable or without symptoms. They are fueling a fierce debate between interventional cardiologists, who deploy the devices, and preventive cardiologists, who support the use of drugs and changes in health habits as front-line treatment.

At stake is how best to treat tens of thousands -- perhaps hundreds of thousands -- of patients with stable chest pain called angina who now undergo the risks and complications of having stents implanted but who might respond just as well or better by taking some pills.

Here's a link to the New York Times article -- In Trial, Drugs Equal Benefits of Artery Stents, by Barnaby J. Feder.

BGS

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