In the blockbuster COURAGE Trial, doctors at the 56th annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology said that the $38,000 angioplasty-plus-stent heart surgery — now done a million times a year in the United States with the goal of freeing patients from chest pain — did not, in the long run, even result in less pain.
“There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who are currently getting stents placed who do not need it as initial therapy,” Dr. Raymond Gibbons, professor of medicine at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., and president of the American Heart Association, told United Press International. Thomas Ryan, senior consultant and emeritus chief of cardiology at Boston University, agreed. “This study shows that, if you treat people vigorously and coach them and they get their blood pressure under control, patients can do just as well on medical therapy,” he told UPI. But, he cautioned, “They can’t just take a pill. This is hard work. They have to get out and exercise. They have to get maximum doses of lipid lowering drugs,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how quickly the medical community reacts to this study.