Angioplasty with stents better than bypass surgery

Washington: Angioplasty with medication-coated stents report favourable long-term outcomes for low-risk heart patients rather than bypass surgery, according to a new study.

A more minimally invasive procedure than surgery, angioplasty is performed by snaking a tiny wire up through an artery in the groin to the blocked area of the heart.

The clogged artery is cleaned out, and a stent — a tiny wire-mesh tube — is placed in the artery to help keep it open, allowing blood to flow freely through the heart again.

The study found that for patients with left main coronary artery disease who had normal artery function, the more minimally invasive procedure may be a safe and effective option.

"This is one of the first studies assessing the long-term outcomes of this procedure in lower-risk patients," said Dr. Michael Lee, an assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The study was published in the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.