A new study gives fresh evidence that many people with clogged heart arteries are being overtreated with stents and that a simple blood-flow test might help prevent unnecessary care.
Fewer deaths, heart attacks and repeat procedures occurred when doctors implanted fewer of the tiny artery props, using the blood-flow test to decide when they were truly needed, the study found. The study involved 1,005 people and was conducted in the United States and Europe.
Results were published in today's New England Journal of Medicine.
With the blood-flow test, "we were able to more accurately or more judiciously place stents," and decide which arteries to skip, said Dr. William Fearon, a Stanford University cardiologist who helped lead the study.