Heart surgeries like bypass surgeries may not be needed and patients can receive drug therapy alone, with no surgery for treating blocked arteries. According to new research from the federal government, patients who had no surgery for blocked arteries and received drug therapy alone, did not have any more heart attacks than those who did have surgery. This research challenges decades of common medical knowledge. More than 5,000 people participated in the study. In these patients, the most tangible benefit of getting surgeries like bypasses and stents was helping people with reduced chest pain or angina.
The trial was presented on Saturday at the annual meeting of American Heart Association, reports The New York Times. Dr Alice Jacobs, director of Cath Lab and Interventional Cardiology at Boston University told the publication that the study will certainly "challenge our clinical thinking".
The study is the latest addition to the divide between specialists over how to treat artery blockages. Known as Ischemia, doctors have called this research to be most in-depth and controlled one on stents and artery-clearing devices.
Heart surgery: Risks associated with stents and bypass surgeries
Stents and bypasses are the most common treatment options of artery blockages. A stent helps in supporting artery walls, keeping your arteries open and improving blood flow to the heart. In case of a bypass surgery, a healthy artery or vein from somewhere else in a patient's body is used to bypass the blocked coronary artery and improve blood supply to the heart.
However, any surgical procedure carries risks. While the outcomes of both these treatment options for heart disease are successful majority of the times, the associated risks cannot be ignored.
Risks associated with stents
Inserting stents require access to arteries of heart or brain. This puts a patient at risk of:
- Breathing problems because of anesthesia or stent in bronchi
- Any infection in blood vessel
- Re-narrowing of arteries
- Allergic reaction to the medicines used as part of the procedure
- Re-narrowing of the arteries
In rare cases, the body might reject a stent. Stents are made with metal components and some people may be allergic or sensitive to metals. Patients should speak to a doctor in detail about these before going ahead with it.
Nonetheless, it has to be noted that risks of not getting a stent are way more than the risks associated with getting it. Limited flow of blood to the heart or blocked vessels can create serious or deadly consequences.
Risks associated with bypass surgeries
Bypass surgery is an open-heart surgery. Complications during and after the procedure are possible. These include the following:
- Heart arrhythmias or irregularities with heart rhythms
- Kidney problems
- Heart attacks in case a blood clot breaks loose soon after the surgery
- Memory loss or trouble with thinking clearly
- Infections of chest wound
As is the case with stents, even risk of developing complications of bypass surgery are low. It is dependents on overall health of the patient before the surgery. Risks are higher in case the operation is done as an emergency procedure or if you have other medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease or blocked arteries in your legs.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.