Stents used to open arteries are no more useful than conventional drug treatment for patients who haven't yet had a heart attack, a new study reveals. In more than 2,000 patients over five years, those who had surgery suffered the same number of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths as those received only drugs.
The one benefit to angioplasty? A reduction in chest pain symptoms, which also diminishes over time. Stent makers point out that the study didn't look at the new generation of medicated stents. Also, stents are still the best option for patients who have already had heart attacks, rather than those hoping to stave them off.