A huge number of people are struggling with heart disease nowadays, so doctors have started quite a common practice to treat them. This practice consists of inserting stents in their arteries, hoping they might relieve their chest pain and reduce the risk of suffering cardiac events. However, a recent study questions the use of these devices in treating chest pain.
Stents are widely used to treat chest pain
The devices are actually small tubes made of metal wires, which are inserted into blocked arteries to prevent the apparition of blood clots. Also, most of the time, doctors insert stents to those who suffer from acute chest pain, as the devices might relieve their ailment.
Heart disease is the main killer in the US, so finding a way to reduce the number of fatal cardiac events is vital. About 500,000 people with heart conditions have stents inserted every year, and many companies sell them to hospitals at quite big prices.
Stents might not really be necessary to relieve angina
However, a recent study questions the efficiency of these devices. Stents should be relieving chest pain for those who suffer from angina, but the results show they might not actually be that necessary. To come up with an answer, researchers looked at 200 people with blocked arteries, who suffered from serious chest pains.
For the first six weeks, the patients received drugs which reduced both their pain and their risk of suffering a heart attack. Then, they were inserted either real of fake stents, and neither the doctors nor the patients knew who had the real thing. The devices improved the blood flow of the patients, but they all reported a reduction in their pain.
Therefore, there wasn’t such a big difference between the two groups of patients. If someone suffers from atherosclerosis, many blood vessels, not only one, are blocked. Therefore, inserting stents into the most blocked one doesn’t do much. Also, these devices might have work as a placebo, as well.