Heart bypass surgery is considered the gold standard for most patients with left main coronary artery disease, one of the most serious types of heart disease and one that affects thousands.
But a new UCLA study reports favorable long-term outcomes for lower-risk patients with this condition who underwent angioplasty with medication-coated stents, rather than bypass surgery.
A more minimally invasive procedure than surgery, angioplasty is performed by snaking a tiny wire up through an artery in the groin to the blocked area of the heart. The clogged artery is cleaned out, and a stent a tiny wire-mesh tube is placed in the artery to help keep it open, allowing blood to flow freely through the heart again.
Published in the June issue of the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, the study found that for patients with left main coronary artery disease who had normal artery function, the more minimally invasive procedure may be a safe and effective option.
"This is one of the first studies assessing the long-term outcomes of this procedure in lower-risk patients," said Dr. Michael Lee, an assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
According to Lee, current national guidelines recommend angioplasty with stenting only for patients who are poor candidates for surgery. He said that this may change in the future, if more studies like this one demonstrate the procedure's effectiveness in a wider range of patients.
Researchers reviewed data, taken from an international registry, on 221 patients who had left main coronary artery disease with normal artery function. All patients had undergone
angioplasty with drug-eluted stents between 2002 and 2009 at one of four institutions. The average patient age was 68, and the majority were male.
Patients sought angioplasty with stenting instead of surgery for a number of reasons,
|Contact: Rachel Champeau|
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences