Entries in Angioplasty (4)


Doctors Investing in High-End Equipment Order More Tests: Study

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.C.) -- A new study conducted by the Duke University Medical Center suggests doctors who buy high-end equipment are more likely to order and bill for unnecessary heart tests.

In the report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers say doctors who invested in their own medical equipment were more than twice as likely as other doctors to order a follow-up nuclear stress test for patients recovering from angioplasty or bypass surgery. Additionally, the study found doctors were more than seven times as likely to order a stress echocardiography than doctors who did not bill for the equipment fees.

In each instance, the study said the further testing is generally not necessary in the first few years after the surgeries are performed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hospitals Giving Faster Help to Heart Attack Victims

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Hospitals all over the country are getting faster at giving life-saving angioplasties to patients who have heart attacks, according to a report published Monday in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation.

The five-year study of more than 300,000 patients found that the average time it took for doctors to perform an angioplasty -- a procedure used to open a blocked or narrowed artery in the heart -- after they were admitted decreased from 96 minutes in 2005 to 64 minutes in 2010.

During a heart attack, blocked blood vessels prevent the heart from getting the blood it needs to function. Angioplasty opens the blood vessels -- often using a balloon passed through the narrowed locations which is then inflated -- and, if performed quickly, can keep the patient's heart from getting damaged by a lack of blood.

Previous practice guidelines have recommended that patients should get emergency angioplasty in less than 90 minutes after a heart attack. In 2006 and 2007, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association launched campaigns to get cardiologists and hospitals to lower their door-to-balloon times to give the best care to heart attack patients.

Mike Valentine, a cardiologist at Centra hospital in Lynchburg, Va., said patients with heart attacks there get angioplasty in an average of 43 minutes. Several years ago, the door-to-balloon time was about 80 minutes.

"Our times are excellent, but we try to never be satisfied," Valentine said. "We're constantly trying to improve those times and get that care to our patients faster."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Reveals the Importance of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Comstock/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, Minn.) -- Patients with heart disease and especially those who survive a heart attack can reduce their risk of death by undergoing cardiac rehabilitation.

Now a study in the journal Circulation says this also applies to those who have had an angioplasty, a procedure that restores blood flow by widening blood vessels that have become narrowed or blocked.

The Mayo Clinic study looked at more than 2,000 patients who underwent angioplasties over a 15-year period.  It found that those who participated in cardiac rehabilitation were almost 50 percent less likely to die within six years than those who did not have the rehab.

Rehab programs include patient education, supervised exercise training, nutrition counseling and help to quit smoking.

Medicare and most health insurance plans cover cardiac rehabilitation, yet it's estimated that only one in four eligible patients actually get it.

The authors say that if all eligible patients had cardiac rehabilitation, the gains in long-term survival would be substantial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bypass Surgeries in US Decrease from 2001 to 2008

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- A new study from the University of Pennsylvania found that while the rate of bypass surgeries decreased by more than 30 percent from 2001 to 2008, the rates of angioplasty remained the same. Researchers say that these findings could be credited to improved preventive treatments for cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as better stents.

Artery bypass and angioplasty, a procedure that restores blood flow through a blocked artery, are the two most common major medical procedures provided by the U.S. health care system to fix blood flow blockage in the heart.

The researchers’ findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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