most angioplasties unneeded, study finds
- associated press - mar 26 7:12 pm gmt
by marilynn marchione
ap medical writer
new orleans (ap) -- more than half a million people a year with chest pain are getting an unnecessary or premature procedure to unclog their arteries because drugs are just as effective, suggests a landmark study that challenges one of the most common practices in heart care.
the stunning results found that angioplasty did not save lives or prevent heart attacks in non-emergency heart patients.
an even bigger surprise: angioplasty gave only slight and temporary relief from chest pain, the main reason it is done.
"by five years, there was really no significant difference" in symptoms, said dr. william boden of buffalo general hospital in new york. "few would have expected such results."
he led the study and gave results monday at a meeting of the american college of cardiology. they also were published online by the new england journal of medicine and will be in the april 12 issue....