Angioplasties Are an Overused Procedure

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Albany has found that angioplasties are being overused in clinical settings. According to the study’s authors, too many doctors are ordering these cardiac procedures for patients who don’t warrant such an invasive diagnostic test.
“Patients need to be aware that they are sometimes being referred for something that they don’t need, and they can get by with a less invasive option, which is taking medicines,” said Edward Hannan, the lead author of the study from the University at Albany.
Both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have published guidelines for doctors to refer when assessing whether a patient requires an angioplasty.
Reuters explains, “To see how well doctors are sticking to the AHA and ACC guidelines, Hannan and his colleagues gathered data from 58 hospitals in New York State.
Among more than 24,000 patients who had an angioplasty in late 2009 and 2010, 36 percent met the criteria for being appropriate candidates.
Nearly half of the patients fell into the uncertain category — in which there isn’t good evidence to say whether medications or a stent would be the better option.
And the researchers deemed 14 percent of patients inappropriate for the procedure, they reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
In other words, based on these patients’ symptoms and heart test results, it didn’t appear that inserting a stent would improve their quality of life or help them live longer, said Dr. John Spertus, a professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, who helped write the appropriateness criteria.”