There has been alot in the news comparing the 2 procedures used to treat coronary artery disease. That is: angioplasty vs bypass surgery.
An angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure where a catheter is thread into the artery that is partially blocked and a balloon is used to flatten the blockage. A stent is left in to prop the artery open. On the other hand, bypass surgery reroutes blood vessels around the blockage so that blood and oxygen can still be delivered to the heart muscle.
European doctors recently studied over 3000 patients in Europe and the U.S., who had coronary artery disease with single or multiple heart blockages. The results indicated that in patients who had an angioplasty, “nearly 14 percent needed another procedure after a year, compared with about 6 percent of surgery patients”. Also, surgery patients had a lower death rate.
But surgeries don’t come without their risks…patients who had surgery had about a 2 percent stroke risk versus nearly zero risk for patients who had an angioplasty. So what’s the best thing to do?
First, prevention is best. Eat well, exercise, get yearly check-ups.
Second, medical therapy is the next step. Treat high blood pressure and high lipids if you have these conditions and do step 1.
If you have been diagnosed with having more than one blocked coronary artery, consider surgery. It is better than getting multiple angioplasty procedures. If you have stable angina or early coronary artery disease with only one blocked vessel, then angioplasty and stent placement may be best. Of coarse, talk to your doctor about the options.
AP – For heart patients with clogged arteries, the choice between bypass surgery or an angioplasty may come down to one question: How many procedures would you like to have?…