Are Artery-Opening Stents for Chest Ache a Waste of Time?

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By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 2, 2017 (HealthDay Information) — With findings that some specialists imagine might change cardiovascular care, a brand new examine means that the placebo impact of stents in coronary heart sufferers with chest ache could also be much more pronounced than thought.

That might imply that drug remedy alone, relatively than the expensive, artery-opening units, is all that is wanted for sure sufferers, the researchers mentioned.

“A very powerful purpose we give sufferers a stent is to unblock an artery when they’re having a coronary heart assault. Nevertheless, we additionally place stents into sufferers who’re getting ache solely on exertion attributable to narrowed, however not blocked, arteries. It is this second group that we studied,” defined lead creator Rasha Al-Lamee, from the Nationwide Coronary heart and Lung Institute at Imperial Faculty London.

The examine included 200 sufferers with secure angina who obtained six weeks of intensive drug therapy for his or her angina. After that, they both obtained a stent or underwent a simulated process the place no stent was implanted.

Sufferers who obtained stents did not have extra enhancements in angina or high quality of life than those that didn’t obtain a stent. Angina is the medical time period for chest ache. It’s usually attributable to the build-up of fatty plaques within the arteries.

Stents aren’t low cost, both: The units and their insertion them prices from $11,000 to $41,000 at hospitals in the US.

The examine was printed on-line Nov. 2 in The Lancet medical journal, to coincide with a presentation at a cardiology assembly in Denver.

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“Surprisingly, despite the fact that the stents improved blood provide, they did not present extra aid of signs in comparison with drug therapies, a minimum of on this affected person group,” Al-Lamee mentioned in a college information launch.

“Whereas these findings are attention-grabbing and deserve extra consideration, they don’t imply that sufferers ought to by no means endure the [stent] process for secure angina. It might be that some sufferers decide to have an invasive process over taking long-term treatment to manage their signs,” she added.

The researchers plan additional evaluation of their information, to find out if there are subgroups of sufferers whose angina improves extra after stenting.


“Plainly the hyperlink between opening a narrowing coronary artery and bettering signs is just not so simple as everybody had hoped,” Al-Lamee mentioned. “That is the primary trial of its type, and [it] will assist us to develop a larger understanding of secure angina, a illness which impacts so a lot of our sufferers every single day.”

Writing in a commentary that accompanied the report, two cardiologists mentioned the “landmark” examine has implications that “are profound and far-reaching.”

“Initially, the outcomes of [the study] present unequivocally that there aren’t any advantages” for the usage of stents in comparison with drug remedy for individuals who have secure angina, mentioned Dr. David Brown, of Washington College Faculty of Medication in St. Louis, and Dr. Rita Redberg, of the College of California, San Francisco.

In reality, based mostly on the brand new findings, Brown and Redberg imagine that stents might not be helpful in these instances even when a affected person’s angina fails to get higher after medicines are used.

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“Primarily based on these information, all cardiology pointers must be revised to downgrade the advice for [stents] in sufferers with angina,” whether or not or not additionally they obtained drug remedy, the medical doctors mentioned.

Their reasoning?

In line with Brown and Redberg, every year over a half-million sufferers in the US and Europe endure stent therapy — and a sizeable minority will expertise probably harmful problems that may embrace coronary heart assault, kidney damage, stroke and even demise. Subjecting these sufferers to these dangers when no profit may be achieved is irresponsible, they mentioned.

Docs must focus extra on drug remedy and efforts at “bettering the approach to life selections” of many coronary heart sufferers — issues like dangerous diets, lack of train and smoking, the editorialists concluded.

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