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“Experts Say Heart Stents Overused”

Heart disease is big business in the USA.  Annually, more than half a million Americans undergo procedures to have a narrowed coronary artery propped open with a stent; whereas, about 1 million angioplasties are done in the United States each year and nearly 40 million people will be taking Lipitor in the United States, with an additional 20 million taking similar statin (cholesterol-lowering) drugs.  Many of these interventions can be life saving.  But, unfortunately, studies show, stents continue to be implanted in patients who stand to gain little, if any, benefit.  In July of 2013, two of the country’s largest medical organizations (the American Medical Association and the Joint Commission) identified the procedure commonly used to place a stent — called a percutaneous coronary intervention, or angioplasty — as one of five highly overused medical interventions.  Organization spokesmen said, “Roughly 1 in 10 elective angioplasty procedures performed nationwide may be “inappropriate,” and another third questionable.”

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