Heart and vascular diseases cause many victims among US citizens. The death rate may soon be shrinking now that a group of researchers managed to prove that stents are just as effective as surgery for reducing stroke risk.
This recent study involved researchers from Rutgers University, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Alabama Birmingham and spanned more than a decade.
It was conducted at 117 medical facilities from North America and looked into how each patient was affected by their treatments over a long period of time.
The researchers investigated over 2,500 patients, who were treated for arterial clogging either through stents or surgery. The results showed that each procedure led to a very similar outcome in patients.
According to their data, 11.8% of the people who received stents and 9.9% of those who had surgery experienced a heart attack ten years later.
Similarly, 6.9% of the participants who had stents and 5.6% of those with surgery experienced a stroke more than a decade later.
The first phase of this research was called the Asymptomatic Carotid Trial and it focused on determining whether stents were as safe as surgery when it comes to treating heart and vascular diseases. This phase was conducted over five years and it proved that both methods present similar results.
The second phase lasted for ten years and it was formally titled Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial. The researchers followed up on the 2,500 patients involved in this study about twice a year in order to accurately assess their evolution.
Once again, the study showed a similar outcome for both procedures, thus validating their further use.
A stent can be described as a small mesh tube that is used to treat weak or narrow arteries. It is the main element in a procedure known as a coronary angioplasty and it basically restores the blood flow through these blocked vessels.
The stents help strengthen the artery’s inner wall for a long time, sometimes even years. They are commonly made of metal, but in some cases they can be produced from fabric. In this case they are called stent grafts and are placed along larger arteries.
These findings, which can be found in the New England Journal of Medicine, reveal the fact that these two procedures are equally effective, which means that doctors and patients can now choose the course of treatment based on their personal preference and general medical condition.
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