Had a cardiac stent put in?  Was it really needed?  Basically, it’s a toss up.  50 / 50.

I’ve written before about the reality of this procedure, which has some pretty severe limitations.  Many patients mistakenly believes that percutaneous cardiac intervention (PCI or angioplasty) will prevent them from having a heart attack in the future.  Many doctors do not discourage this opinion, although it is not true in many cases.

About 50% of the time, the only expected outcome of this procedure is angina / chest pain relief.  Sounds good, until you realize that the procedure involves sticking a scope up into your heart itself to take a peek around and has significant risks AND earns you 6 months to a year of Plavix or Coumidin (which carry risks as well..).

Worse, the procedure costs some $50K or more.  Talk about a waste of healthcare dollars!  As a chiropractor constantly dealing with insurance companies wringing our reimbursements down, in recent examples, 50% lower to save money on a fraction of the costs in healthcare, I find it sickening to see this type of abuse that is allowed to occur virtually unchecked. 

This particular editorial laments the waste and abuse in the cardiology realm with this procedure.  Despite strong research suggesting that 50% of the procedures would have been better treated with medications (a topic we obviously won’t get into here…), there has been no behavioral change among most cardiologists.

So, for those of you that think that the typical cardiologist has their nose stuck in medical journals to keep up with the latest research, you might want to rethink that position.  Or worse, they are aware of the research and choose to ignore it for financial gain.  Take your pick.  Either way, it’s not too pretty.

For me, I’d opt for strong lifestyle changes at this point.  Cheaper.  Cuts across much more than just heart disease.  No long term damage (unless you call improved physiology damaging).  And certainly safer.  A no brainer to me.

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James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.