Drug-Eluting Stents May Be Safe, But Are They Necessary?

New York Times columnist David Leonhardt writes today about an issue that wasn't considered at last week's CDRH Circulatory System Devices panel meeting: In most cases, stents and angioplasty don't reduce the risk of heart attacks or extend lifespans.

December 13, 2006

1 Min Read
Drug-Eluting Stents May Be Safe, But Are They Necessary?

(This has to do with research showing that heart attacks tend not to result from large plaque buildup that blocks an artery, but from when any amount of plaque bursts.) This, he says, raises the question of how many stenting procedures are really necessary, and how many are done because the doctor hasn't properly analyzed the alternatives, or prefers an option where he knows he can make a nice profit. (Stents and angioplasty are most necessary in cases where the patient has just had a heart attack.) And further, he says, that raises the question of the structure of our healthcare system, where there is little disincentive to overuse expensive options that work. Do you agree?

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