Coronary artery bypass grafting, known as CABG for short, is more effective than stents in some cases. Scientists reached this somewhat surprising conclusion by studying the records of over 1,600 heart patients with multiple blocked arteries (The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, May 1, 2019).
When Is Open-Heart Surgery More Effective Than Stents?
For years, stents have been overtaking CABG surgery because placing stents is less invasive. However, a new study shows that for people with multivessel coronary artery disease, CABG results in lower one-year mortality. For patients who had undergone surgery, 7.2 percent died in the subsequent year. That result compares favorably to 11.5 percent of the patients who had undergone stent placement instead.
There were more than 800 patients in each group. In addition, the patients who had undergone bypass surgery were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital than those who had gotten stents.
What Should Heart Patients Do?
The authors recommend a heart team approach to diagnosis and treatment so that patients will get the best advice for their particular cardiac condition. People should realize that if they have problems in multiple coronary arteries, they might benefit more from bypass surgery. It appears to be more effective than stents in such situations.
This is not the first study to cast some doubt on the benefit of stents. Previously, researchers have found that people with stents suffer less from angina but do not survive longer. Above all, stents do not seem to improve heart attack survival rates.