- Dec 2014
- The Milky Way
Stent surgery will not cut the risk of having a heart attack or premature death, a major study has found. The procedure - inserting an artificial valve to unblock severely clogged arteries - does appear to reduce chest pain better than just using blood-thinning medicines.
But according to a federally-funded study by New York University, that's the extent of the benefits.
The results have sent shock-waves through the medical community by calling into question one of the most common practices in heart care, used to treat 1.8 million Americans a year, including Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders, and 750,000 Brits, including Mick Jagger.
It is the strongest evidence yet that tens of thousands of costly stent procedures and bypass operations each year are unnecessary or premature for people with stable disease.
For non-emergency cases, the study shows 'there's no need to rush' into invasive tests and procedures, said New York University's Dr. Judith Hochman. There might even be harm: To doctors' surprise, study participants who had a procedure were more likely to suffer a heart problem or die over the next year than those treated with medicines alone.
Mick Jagger and Bernie Sanders are among the millions of people a year who get stents inserted to unclog arteries. A major new NYU study found it does not lower a patient's risk of heart attack.