March 17, 2011

Stents or Bypass? New Study Says They Are Equal One Year Later

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, Helpful Heart Links, New Heart Studies, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 7:34 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

Three coronary artery bypass grafts, a LIMA to...

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WebMD took a closer look at a new study comparing the benefits of stenting vs. bypass.

Well-informed patients with heart disease will certainly find this new WebMD article interesting.  Patients who undergo Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) frequently ask the question, “Why did I have to get bypass instead of stents?”  Alternately, people with stents frequently wonder how they dodged the bullet by avoiding bypass.  Many more people may be dodging the bullet in the future thanks to this new study and the continual improvement in stenting procedures.

Several years ago, the decision for bypass was made whenever someone had more than 3 blocked arteries OR a significant blockage in the heart’s main artery (called the left main).  In the study, a group of 1800 patients who traditionally might have all gone on to bypass surgery were split into 2 groups: approximately half went ahead with bypass while the other half underwent stenting instead.  The results showed the 2 groups felt similar improvement after 1 year. In addition, the rate of heart attacks or death were about the same for both groups after one year.

There were some differences noted though when you look closely. People who got stents felt better much quicker and had a faster recovery than those who had bypass.  On the other hand, people with stents were more likely to need another stenting procedure within the first year.  Also, people who had daily or weekly chest pain prior to their procedure felt more relief of their chest pain with bypass surgery by 6 months out.

While this study may lead to more stents and fewer open heart surgeries, it won’t be making bypass extinct anytime soon.  Many patients dread the idea of bypass surgery but if you have 3 or more blocked arteries AND you get chest pain at least once a week, bypass will still be highly recommended.

Read more about the study at WebMD’s article which is listed below:

September 11, 2010

The Report That Lets You Shop Around For Bypass Surgery

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Helpful Heart Links tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:01 pm by keepyourhearthealthy Title: Coronary art...

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The decision to undergo bypass is a major ordeal for many heart disease patients.

The thought of having your chest cut open and then possibly not waking up is frightening!  Luckily, the risk of death and complications are usually quite small with most surgeons performing bypass surgery.  However, you should check out your options for both surgeons and hospitals if you want the absolute best outcome.

A report published in Consumer Reports Health has listed out the ratings of over 200 cardiothoracic surgeon groups in the US.  The information was compiled by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and all surgeons had to agree to have their information published.  With approximately 1100 groups giving information for the entire study, that means only 20% of them were motivated enough to allow their ratings to be published.

The ratings were given on a scale of one to three stars (one being the worst and three being the best).  The number of stars were based on 30-day survival, surgical technique, complications associated with the bypass and appropriate medications prescribed.

In case you are thinking that your regular subscription to Consumer Reports will let you see THIS particular report on their Consumer Reports Health website…not so!  I already tried it myself.  I logged in to and they still advised me to get a subscription to the Health portion before viewing the actual results.  However, according to, 50 of the programs received the highest rating and 5 received the lowest.   Given that publishing the results was voluntary, it makes you wonder why those 5 cardiothoracic surgery groups chose to publish their results?  They could have opted out like 900 other groups did!

In case you are shopping around for the ultimate bypass surgeon and are interested in viewing the report, here is the link to a sneak peek with the option to log in or subscribe:

Consumer Reports Health Bypass Surgery Ratings