Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More Debate About Heart Stents

Article in the New York Times -- First, a New Artery Stent Study; Now, Questions About What It All Means, by Barnaby J. Feder.  Here's an excerpt:

Is today the first in a new era for angioplasty and stenting, the artery-clearing technology that enchanted doctors while giving birth to a multibillion-dollar industry?

Many heart specialists at the annual scientific meeting here of the American College of Cardiology said it ought to be, based on a report Monday that found little additional value in giving stents to most heart patients as long as they received the right medicines.

“We were amazed at how well people did with medical therapy,” said Dr. William Weintraub, chief of cardiology at the Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., who is leading the analysis of the economic and quality of life data from the trial. The trial focused on patients with severe constrictions in their arteries that were causing angina chest pains or other symptoms but were not immediately life-threatening.

Device makers and some doctors, however, doubted that the trial would have broad impact. They noted several reasons to question the results, starting with the fact that only 3 percent of the stented patients in the trial received the latest drug-coated models. Those models were just reaching the market when enrollment in the study ended in 2004.


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