Angioplasty. Is it right for you?

Coronary angioplasty is a medical procedure to enlarge a coronary artery to permit more blood to flow through it and nourish the heart.  There are a number of different techniques and equipment used in angioplasties.  Studies have shown, however, that taking the right combination of drugs and making appropriate lifestyle changes (“optimal medical therapy”) was as effective in preventing heart attacks and prolonging life for patients with heart disease as angioplasty.  http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa070829  Recent studies have also shown that less than half the people getting coronary angioplasties were receiving optimal medical therapy before their procedure.  This raises the question whether the angioplasty was necessary or whether the patients should have been placed on the optimal medical therapy.

Before agreeing to undergo coronary angioplasty, be sure that you understand the risks and benefits of the procedure and have received a satisfactory explanation from your physician why the procedure is better for you than drug therapy and lifestyle changes.  Always be a careful consumer of medical care.  Always ask questions.

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