Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in deaths associated with coronary stents. These tiny metal-mesh tubes, “stents,” are placed inside arteries to keep them open, ensuring adequate blood flow.
According to MedlinePlus, an online medical encyclopedia curated by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, “Most of the time, stents are used to treat conditions that result when arteries become narrow or blocked”, such as Coronary heart disease (CHD) (angioplasty and stent placement – heart); Peripheral artery disease (angioplasty and stent replacement – peripheral arteries); Renal artery stenosis; Abdominal aortic aneurysm (aortic aneurysm repair – endovascular); and Carotid artery disease (carotid artery surgery).
While these uses account for many of the cases in which coronary stents are used, Bloomberg News states that more than half of the time coronary stents used in the US (which number about 700,000 annually) are cases of “elective-surgery patients in stable condition”. That Bloomberg News article continues, stating, “[Overuse], death, injury and fraud have accompanied the devices’ use as a go-to treatment, according to thousands of pages of court documents and regulatory filings, interviews with 37 cardiologists and 33 heart patients or their survivors, and more than a dozen medical studies.”
Sadly, it seems that stents represent a cheaper, less effective, and more dangerous means of maintaining proper blood flow. According to an interview Nortin Hadler of The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, gave Bloomberg, “‘Stenting belongs to one of the bleakest chapters in the history of Western medicine,’ [and cardiologists] ‘are marching on’ because ‘the interventional cardiology industry has a cash flow comparable to the GDP of many countries’ and doesn’t want to lose it”.
Another article, this published to the WebMD website, also purports that coronary stents are overused among patients with stable heart conditions: “an analysis of eight large clinical trials found that the addition of opening narrowed arteries with stents provided no added benefit over aggressive therapy with medication alone as a first treatment for patients with stable disease.”
WebMD continues, stating that American Heart Association records show “400,000 non-emergency coronary stenting procedures are performed each year in the U.S.” And based on an interview with medical researcher David L. Brown, MD, of Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York, “If two-thirds of these operations were avoided, the savings in health care dollars would be huge.
“By one estimate, reducing elective stent procedures by just one-third would save the U.S. health system $6 billion to $8 billion annually.”
An article published in a 2012 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine that studied 7,229 patients compared the health outcomes of patients who used stents with stable heart conditions to the health outcomes for patients who used other methods to ensure arteries stay open, found that “Initial stent implantation for stable CAD shows no evidence of benefit compared with initial medical therapy for prevention of death, nonfatal MI, unplanned revascularization, or angina.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) reduces death and nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI) in the setting of acute coronary syndromes.1– 2 However, the role of PCI in treatment of stable coronary artery disease (CAD) remains controversial.3– 4
Despite recent studies clearly demonstrating that initial PCI offers no benefit in terms of reducing death or other cardiovascular events over optimal medical therapy in the setting of nonacute CAD,5– 7 these findings have not been incorporated into clinical practice.8– 9.” For clarity, the phrase “percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)” here refers to the use of a coronary stent.
Though this paper, published by Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD; David L. Brown, MD (titled “Initial Coronary Stent Implantation With Medical Therapy vs Medical Therapy Alone for Stable Coronary Artery Disease”) represents a landmark study in the field, many other research studies have been published demonstrating that stents are unnecessary or dangerous when used in stable heart condition.
Due to the fact that a large number of Americans have been given stents unnecessarily, coronary stent lawsuits are currently being filed in great number across the country. If you or a loved one was given a stent and you have a stable heart condition, you may be at risk for a number of coronary stent complications and may be entitled to significant financial compensation for any injury you have incurred.
For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of coronary stent lawyers at the information provided below. We have the skills, resources, and experience required to win the justice you deserve.
Call today and see how we can help!