Posted on: September 27, 2015
Posted by: rocky
By Dr. Mercola
Angioplasty is a surgical procedure often recommended after an arterial blockage has been found in the heart muscle. Your heart requires a strong oxygen and nutrient supply, like other muscles in your body. There are two major coronary arteries that supply the left and right sides of your heart. By branching into smaller arteries they are able to supply the entire muscle with blood.
The goal of coronary artery angioplasty is to repair or unblock the blocked artery. During the procedure the surgeon inserts a thin expandable balloon that is inflated to flatten the blockage against the arterial wall.1 After the balloon is removed, the surgeon often places a stent with the intention of keeping the artery open and blood flowing freely.
There are currently five types of coronary artery stents available, each with different advantages and disadvantages to placement.2 However, while the different types of stents offer options for those for whom a stent is absolutely necessary, research shows those with stable coronary artery disease, stable angina, do not require stents.
In a recent study published in The Lancet, researchers from Imperial College London investigated the difference between patients who had received a stent for stable angina and those who underwent a placebo intervention.3 In the short video above, lead author and interventional cardiologist Dr. Rasha Al-Lamee, describes the study and its results.
The researchers recruited 200 participants with severe single vessel blockage from five sites across the U.K.4 During the initial six weeks, all patients underwent an exercise test followed by intensive medical treatment. At that point they were randomly assigned to two groups. The first underwent a percutaneous intervention (PCI) during which coronary angioplasty was performed and a stent was placed. The second group also underwent a PCI procedure with an angiogram but without a balloon angioplasty or stent placement.5
For the following six weeks, neither the patient nor the physician knew if the patient received the stent. At the conclusion of the six weeks, patients again underwent an exercise test and were questioned about their symptoms. The researchers found both groups experienced nearly identical improvements in exercise tolerance and no difference in reported improvements of their symptoms.6 From the data, Al-Lamee commented:7
"Surprisingly, even though the stents improved blood supply, they didn't provide more relief of symptoms compared to drug treatments, at least in this patient group. It seems that the link between opening a narrowing coronary artery and improving symptoms is not as simple as everyone had hoped."
The results were presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics symposium in Denver. Not surprisingly, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions...
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