Stents, bypass surgery may be unnecessary for many heart disease patients

Medications and healthy lifestyle changes are just as effective at preventing heart attacks and death in heart disease patients than the standard treatment of stents and coronary artery bypass surgery, according to new research cited by The Wall Street Journal.

The study involved 5,179 high-risk heart disease patients in 37 countries. One group of patients underwent either a stent or bypass procedure with supplemental medical and lifestyle therapies. The other group received only intensive medical and lifestyle treatment, which involved smoking cessation, diet changes, and cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering drugs.

Researchers found no difference in the rates of heart-related death, heart attacks or hospitalization between both groups. The study suggests that stents and bypass surgery may not be necessary for the 9.4 million Americans living with stable coronary artery disease.

Researchers presented their findings Nov. 6 at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia.

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