Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Angioplasty without surgical backup

"Balloon angioplasty, has become so safe that surgical backup is no longer needed when treating low-risk, simple cases." Study leader Dr. Thomas Aversano of Johns Hopkins University presented results Monday at an American Heart Association conference in Florida.

The study was the first large experiment to see if doing it without surgical backup was safe. About 4,500 were given angioplasty at hospitals that had heart surgeons available, and 14,000 others had it at facilities without one. Hospitals without heart surgeons on duty had to complete special training to make sure experienced doctors were doing the angioplasty procedures. And patients were carefully selected to avoid especially troublesome types of blockages.

Six weeks after angioplasties were done, success rates, complications and deaths did not differ between the two groups of patients. Emergency surgery was needed in only 30 cases - patients were transferred to hospitals with that capacity if the one treating them lacked it.

Full report here

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