Can Anyone Explain This?

February 11, 2012
86 Views

At issue is how to treat about 500,000 Americans who each year develop “stable angina, ” which is chest pain that occurs in predictable fashion and is caused by blockages in the heart’s coronary arteries…

At issue is how to treat about 500,000 Americans who each year develop “stable angina, ” which is chest pain that occurs in predictable fashion and is caused by blockages in the heart’s coronary arteries…

[I]n a $33.5 million clinical trial called COURAGE … 2,300 people with stable angina were given “optimal medical therapy” consisting of aspirin, beta blockers and statin drugs, along with help losing weight, quitting smoking and keeping blood pressure under control. Half were also randomly assigned to get angioplasty and stenting (PCI) … After nearly five years, the rate of heart attack and death in the two groups was essentially the same

A PCI procedure costs about $17,000. More than 500,000 are done each year in this country. Medicare pays for about 350,000 a year; this treatment alone accounts for at least 10 percent of Medicare’s total spending growth since the mid-1990s.

Source:  Washington Post.