• Heart Stents May Not Be Necessary in Most Patients
  • December 6, 2017
  • A recent study published in The Lancet has concluded that a medical procedure meant to relieve chest pain in heart patients has no noticeable effects. While the insertion of tiny wire cages called stents can be lifesaving for patients who have suffered from a heart attack, the devices, which are used to open blocked arteries, are ineffective in relieving chest pain caused by exertion where a blocked artery exists.

    The Study
    Under the study, Dr. Justin E. Daives and his colleagues at Imperial College London recruited 200 patients with blocked coronary arteries and chest pain severe enough to limit any physical activity. To decide whether or not patients are being treated unnecessarily, a number of measures were taken to test the effects of heart stents in patients that experience chest pains.

    Initially, all patients were treated with medication for six weeks to reduce the risk of a heart attack and relieve chest pain. Patients were then subject to a procedure that included real or fake insertion of a stent. To obtain accurate results, neither the patient nor the researcher was given information about who received stents, but the procedure went on as if everyone was receiving a stent.

    Doctors threaded a catheter through the groin or wrist of both groups of patients, and used x-ray guidance to reach the blocked artery. Upon reaching the blockage, stents were inserted for select patients, while the catheter was pulled out for others. Following the procedure, all patients were instructed to take medication to prevent blood clots.

    Outcome
    Although the stents greatly improved blood flow through the previously blocked artery, tests after six weeks revealed that both groups of patients experienced less pain and performed better in physical activities.

    While stents do serve a purpose, and can prevent future heart attacks or death, they do not guarantee anything, and other arteries can become blocked in the future, causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty breathing. The results of the research study suggest that medication may be just as successful in relieving pain associated with blocked arteries, although the placebo effect of receiving surgery may also have a large impact.

    Future Studies
    Studies that involve fake treatment options are providing researchers with valuable information regarding unnecessary medical procedures. Heart stents have been used for so long in cardiology that many doctors don’t think twice about using them to relieve chest pain.

    By conducting research studies with controlled focus groups using a variety of different treatment options, researchers are making efforts to limit cases of medical malpractice.

    Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Represent Victims of Medical Malpractice
    Unnecessary medical treatments are a form of medical malpractice. If you or someone you know has been misdiagnosed or has received treatment that has not improved your health, you may be entitled to compensation. Call 215-569-8488 or submit an online form to contact a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at McCann & Wall, LLC.