If there was ever any doubt that heart stents are a scam, they’ve been erased by a new study.
Stents are tiny mesh tubes used to open heart arteries. Surgeons have told us for years that they are the best way to reduce angina pain.
More than 500,000 stent procedures are performed every year, and they don’t work, according to the landmark study, published in the journal The Lancet.1
Researchers at Imperial College London studied 200 patients with stable angina. These are patients with chest pain from partially blocked arteries who are at no immediate risk for a heart attack.
They typically suffer pain when they exert themselves, like when they walk up stairs or hills.
All the subjects received six weeks of drug treatment for angina. After that, they either received a stent or had a placebo procedure in which no stent was implanted.
Hearts surgeons said they were shocked to find out that this common procedure is worthless. Dr. William E. Boden, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Boston University, called the results “unbelievable.”
Excuse us if we take the surprised reaction to this study from surgeons with a huge grain of salt… They’ve known for years that heart stents are ineffective.
The new research only confirms findings from a major study in 2012. It followed more than 7,000 patients with angina. Half got a stent and the other half made lifestyle changes and/or took medication.
The study showed that more stent patients (8.9%) went on to have heart attacks than those who didn’t have stents (8.1%).2
The 2012 study followed on research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007. It also found stents were useless in preventing angina and heart attacks.3
So why do doctors keep performing the procedure?
Dollars for Stents
It brings in high profits, an average of about $36,000 for the hospital and doctors. And the procedure is easy and fast. It can take less than an hour, not including prep. So a surgeon can perform many in one day.4 5
Dr. Nortin Hadler has been warning about overuse of stents for years. He’s a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina.
“Stenting belongs to one of the bleakest chapters in the history of Western medicine,” he said.
The reason doctors continue to implant stents is purely economic, he says. “The interventional cardiology industry has a cash flow comparable to the GDP of many countries and doesn’t want to lose it.”6
So don’t expect stents to go away anytime soon.
And if you have stable angina and your doctor recommends a stent, just say no.
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