A new heart tack
Though on the decline, the use of angioplasty and stents in non-acute coronary patients remains a cause of concern
By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff / August 8, 2011
Using minimally invasive angioplasty to reopen clogged arteries and insert stents in patients with stable heart disease doesn't extend life or prevent future heart attacks any better than medications such as baby aspirin or cholesterol-lowering statins. Yet 173,000 such patients have angioplasties with stents every year in the United States, according to a recent study.
The research, published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 12 percent of elective stent procedures performed in heart disease patients were clearly inappropriate and that an additional 38 percent were of "uncertain'' benefit.