Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bypass the Bypass?

I still think I may eventually need some sort of cardiac intervention, mainly because of my earlier unhealthy lifestyle, so I am constantly interested in any discussion of bypass operations, angioplasties, stents, etc.

When I think about having a bypass or having a stent, I think that these procedures in large measure take care of the problems that existed before they were performed. And in most cases, of course, they do. But some people have major complications, such as heart attack, following the procedures: five percent of patients who had drug-eluting stents, and 3.8 percent of patients who had a bypass. Also, research suggests that about six percent of patients die within three years of having a bypass, compared to about nine percent treated with drug-eluting stents. This whole discussion is complicated, so please read the entire article for fuller understanding.

Here is another article that discusses the same research. It makes the point that about 50% more people die following stent therapy than following bypass. One expert is quoted as having said, “So the trend is not in favor of drug-coated stents.” And another person said, “When we tried to tackle the tougher patients -- those with greater risk, like the typical patient sent to bypass surgery -- our complication rate went up. We can no longer say we are safer with stents than with bypass at the time of procedure." Once again, read the entire article for fuller understanding.

In the meantime, I am thankful that whatever my condition is, I seem to be healthy enough at the present time to avoid both of the interventions mentioned above. I hope to stay healthy long enough for doctors to figure out how to have safer cardiac procedures. Besides, I have plans for the next three years, and I don’t want to be part of whatever percent of patients it is who die following a trip to the hospital.

, , , , , , , , ,

No comments: