ROCHESTER, MINN. -- A Mayo Clinic study finds that many heart patients who undergo angioplasty to open blocked arteries are still taking chest pain medications six months later despite the fact that chest pain is often alleviated by the angioplasty procedure. The study was published in a recent issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
In the paper, Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed more than 3,800 cases. They found that of the 99 percent who reported improvement in chest pain symptoms after angioplasty, 39 percent were still taking beta blockers (43 percent before); 36 percent were still taking nitrates (41 before); and 57 percent were still taking calcium channel blockers (50 percent before). These drugs are given by cardiologists to fight the chest pain associated with clogged arteries.
"There may be good reasons for continuing to take these drugs in some cases," says Dr. David Holmes, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. "But we believe that there is the potential to save people from the side effects, costs, and inconvenience associated with taking these drugs. We plan to develop guidelines to identify which patients need to continue taking medications after successful angioplasty and which patients can safely discontinue these drugs."
Gamma Knife A Good Alternative to Surgery for Many Brain Problems
A recent study from Mayo Clinic shows that gamma knife surgery is successful in treating patients with a wide variety of brain disorders. In patients with benign tumors, growth was controlled in 96 percent of the cases.
The gamma knife, a special machine that focuses high intensity radiation precisely into the brain, offers an alternative to neurosurgery for many brain disorders. Because gamma knife radiosurgery is brain surgery without a scalpel, patients who undergo the procedure are able to return to their normal activities the day after their operation.