Patients suffering from cardiovascular disease with chest pain may not require a stent

For people suffering from heart disease, it’s been thought that inserting a stent was considered to be the best way to treat sudden chest pain at the time of exercise but a landmark research has suggested that this invasive method might not be needed, and instead, lifestyle and medication changes are enough. The study, presented recently by the American Heart Association’s in Philadelphia, could help to guide millions of conversations among their doctors and patients when deciding which treatments are considered best. “Probably the majority of patients, if you offered them a choice of just taking medicine or having a procedure, many will likely opt to just take medicines,” said Dr. Glenn Levine, Professor of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Director, Cardiac Care unit, Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center, Houston. He was not involved in the latest research.

The research focused on patients suffering from what is known as ischemic heart syndrome. That generally means that plaque has built up in the coronary arteries, which actually supplies blood to the heart muscle, narrowing them as well as making it harder to pump blood. That translates into chest ache or tightness, which is called angina; when those patients work out or go through emotional stress, as their body is trying to pump more blood, on the other hand, can’t do so efficiently through such a limited space. When patients rest, though, the pain usually goes away. Doctors call it “stable angina.” It’s not a medical emergency; however, it requires an appointment with a physician.

As per the American Heart Association, stable angina accounts for 2.5 million such office visits in the United States each year. During those diagnoses, patients hop onto a stationary bike or treadmill so doctors can see what’s going on in those narrowed arteries. Medications, for instance, aspirin and drugs to lower cholesterol levels, are always ordered.

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