New research indicates that heart disease patients with blocked coronary arteries who received only drug therapy did not have more heart attacks or die more frequently than individuals who also received bypass surgery or stents. The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association on Saturday, held true for individuals with several severely blocked coronary arteries. Stenting and bypass procedures were helpful for some patients with angina, however.
When properly prescribed and administered, prescription drugs are a cost offset opportunity
The more than 5,100 participants were followed for a median of 3.5 years. There were 145 deaths in the group that was randomized to receive stents or bypass in addition to medical therapy, compared with 144 among those who received medication alone. Additionally, there were 276 heart attacks in the stent and bypass group, vs. 314 in the medication group, a difference that was not considered significant.
Glenn Levine, MD, director of cardiac care at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and a member of the guidelines committee of the American Heart Association, said the trial is “extraordinarily important” and the results will be incorporated into treatment guidelines.