The results of a large heart disease trial could be a game changer for patients with coronary artery disease. Researchers found when it comes to preventing heart attack or stroke, getting a stent or bypass surgery is no better than consistent use of medication and lifestyle changes.
The trial was led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Stanford University and was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions conference over the weekend.
Researchers looked at over 5,000 patients with heart blockages who are stable. Putting in a stent was more likely to improve a patient's quality of life by cutting down on their symptoms like chest pain. But a stent didn't lower their risk of heart attack or stroke any more than taking medications or implementing lifestyle changes.
"The stent and bypass group may not be associated with longer life or survival. However, the group that was revascularized and got stents or bypass had a better quality of life and reduced symptoms so they may feel better," said CBS medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula.
It's estimated around 1 million coronary stents are implanted in patients every year in the U.S. It can prop open a blocked artery and restores proper blood flow. But it only works at a specific site and the procedure can come with risks.