Do You Really Need a Stent for CAD?

Do You Really Need a Stent for CAD?

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We have all heard the claims that cardiologists are inserting too many stents in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). And the fact is that this occurs much more often than we would like to think.

So what should you do if your doctor says you need a stent? Are you one of those people who actually does need a stent2—or should your doctor be talking to you about medical therapy instead?

If your doctor tells you that you need a stent, it is likely he or she will attempt to explain why. But the issue can be quite complicated, and your doctor may not be entirely clear in his/her explanation. You may be too stunned by the news that you need a stent to concentrate totally on what you are being told.

Are You Having a Heart Attack?

If you are in the early stages of an acute heart attack, the immediate insertion of a stent can stop the damage to your heart muscle and can help reduce your chances of suffering cardiac disability or death.

Do You Have an Unstable Angina?

Unstable angina, like an actual heart attack, is a form of acute coronary syndrome (ACS)—and therefore it should be considered a medical emergency.

The early insertion of a stent can stabilize the ruptured plaque that is producing the emergency and can improve your outcome.

It is the patients with stable CAD who, according to the clinical evidence available, are receiving far too many stents. In stable CAD, stents turn out to be very good at relieving angina, but they do not prevent heart attacks or decrease the risk of cardiac death. So, the only real good reason to insert stents in people with stable CAD is to relieve persistent angina when aggressive treatment with medication fails to do so.

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