More patients opting for stents

Three factors make percutaneous coronary intervention the preferred choice - advances in PCI techniques, high occlusion rates of bypass surgery, and advances in diagnostic methods and increased patient awareness

Published Fri, Mar 7, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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FOR those with significant narrowing of one or more major heart arteries, opening of narrowed heart arteries using cylindrical metallic meshes (stents) that are mounted on balloons and inserted through 2mm plastic tubings via the wrist or groin artery under local anaesthesia is increasingly common. These stents are expanded and deployed at the narrowed heart artery segments and the entire procedure is called percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI. While performing PCI during an acute heart attack is undoubtedly life-saving, the data for those with blocked arteries but are relatively well or stable, is less robust.

Reducing deaths

The most important question is whether performing PCI in stable patients results in less death from heart disease. A recent February 2014 Circulation journal article by Mayo Clinic researchers on about 19,000 patients that had undergone PCI and were subsequently followed up for a long time sheds some light on this. These patients were followed up for almost two decades and by the end of the study period, 37 per cent of the patients had died. Death from heart disease decreased by 33 per cent but death from non-heart conditions such as cancer and other chronic diseases increased by 57 per cent. In this group treated with PCI, heart disease as a cause of death had gradually decreased in percentage over time.

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