Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Medicine: Not so fast (or slow, as the case may be)

This article from the NEJM demonstrates why we need better decision making about interventional procedures in medicine. Angioplasty (using a balloon +/- a stent to open a clogged artery) has been praised as the savior of heart disease. As a result, many cardiologists are recommending this procedure to all their patients with evidence of coronary disease or recent infarct (read: lots of $$ for the MD doing the procedure). However, we now have data that shows undergoing angioplasty 3-28 days post-MI is actually more harmful than good. So, while this should cut down on the number of procedures being done, that would be dependant on interventional cardiologists keep up with the latest research AND being willing to cut a procedure that brings in big bucks for them. I hope their oath to patient care comes before their desire to fill their wallets!

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