The Antidote

Counterspin for Health Care and Health News

Monday, March 26, 2007

Evidence against overtreatment of heart attacks

The Washington Post reports today on a new randomized trial showing that medication is as good as angioplasty with stenting in treating patients who are stable after a heart attack. Angioplasty is one of those expensive procedures that shows wide regional variation in use, begging questions about whether it's better to do a lot, or fewer. Now we have a better idea. I hope, though, that the study authors follow up and publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal, so that everyone can have their own look at the data.

Not doing angioplasty could save a lot of money. So I wonder: is Medicare listening?


At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Giovanni Settembrini said...

This was also reported today on All Things Considered. Seems to me thatthe principal point of contention was that placing a stent at the pointof greatest narrowing of the coronary artery may be equivalent to locking the barn door after the horse is stolen: it doesn't necessarily mean that the stent itself will lessen the likelhood of an atherosclerotic narrowing at some other point where plaque might be prone to accumulate. Obviously proper medication ( e.g., statins, I
assume) is desirable for lowering of all cholesterol levels; but this
doesn't necessary limit the likelihood of further atherosclerotic disease.


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