Medication, angioplasty or surgery? For some heart disease patients, there's no clear-cut choice. The key to getting the best care is to follow your individual doctor's advice, new research shows.
The research, conducted at the Heart Institute of the University of So Paulo Medical School in Brazil, appears in the Sept. 5, 2006, edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
For the study, researchers reviewed data collected during the Medicine, Angioplasty or Surgery Study II (MASS II) to determine how physician-recommended care affected patient outcomes one year after treatment. All patients were diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease affecting at least two blood vessels but not yet causing a loss of heart function. Coronary artery disease occurs when a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries prevents oxygen-rich blood from nourishing the heart muscle.
"We still currently do not know which is the best therapeutic option for patients with multivessel chronic coronary artery disease and a normal ventricular function," said Whady Hueb, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at the University of So Paulo Heart Institute (InCor). "I think our study offers additional information and reassurance for both doctors and patients that, at the end of the decision-making process, what the doctor and patient agree is the best option in most cases really is the best option."
Dr. Hueb is senior author of the new study and principal investigator of MASS II, a randomized, controlled clinic trial looking for new ways to determine the most effective treatments for people with coronary artery disease.
For the study, 611 patients met with their individual cardiologists for evaluation. The physicians examined them and then, after conferring with a second cardiologist, recommended one of the three potential treatments: medication, noninvasive angioplasty using balloons and/or stents to open clogged arteries, or coronary artery bypa
Contact: Amy Murphy
American College of Cardiology