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Heart Bypass Surgery Rates Drop Dramatically, Study Finds
Date:5/4/2011

[patients] onto surgeons and treating more with interventional cardiology," he said. "The worry is there are patients who really who should be getting CABG that aren't getting it."

While bypass procedures used to involve cutting through the chest, technological advances now allow surgeons to do the procedure much less invasively. Innovations include doing the surgery through a small incision and using fiber-optic cameras, or even robotic surgery.

Despite the improvements, it's possible old perceptions die hard. Given the choice between doing PCI on the spot or waiting to see a surgeon and getting bypass surgery that comes with a longer recovery time, many patients may opt for the PCI, Groeneveld said.

"Patients are sometimes put in positions to make decisions while lying on a cath lab table with a cardiologist leaning over them," Groeneveld said, referring to the catheterization lab, where cardiologists perform PCIs.

"Patients should be made aware that there are alternatives to PCI, and those conversations about whether PCI is the right thing should be happening before the patient goes into the cath lab," he added.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on heart attack risk factors.

SOURCES: Peter W. Groeneveld, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., chief, cardiology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso; May 4, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association


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