Heart Attack Care: Drugs vs. Stents
Analysis Shows Drugs After Heart Attack Are Effective and Reduce Costs
WebMD News Archive
Quality of Life and Treatment Costs continued...
Four months after enrollment, the stent patients did report less chest pain
and scored higher on quality-of-life assessments. But the differences were
small and they had disappeared altogether within a year, Mark says.
"We saw no discernable differences in what patients said they were able
to do or in any other major measure of quality of life and well-being," he
The average cost of hospital and physician care during the first 30 days of
treatment was calculated to be $22,859 per patient treated with balloon
angioplasty and stenting vs. $12,683 for the medical therapy group.
Over two years of treatment, medical costs among patients treated with
angioplasty and stents were an average of $7,000 higher than patients who did
not get angioplasty and stents.
It should be emphasized again that the patients enrolled in the OAT trial
were all stable and without symptoms. Balloon angioplasty and stenting
"does not appear beneficial for this highly selected group ... but
that doesn't mean that patients who are very impaired or have poor quality of
life and angina will not benefit," study researcher Judith S. Hochman, MD,
of New York University School of Medicine, tells WebMD.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute senior cardiologist George Sopko,
MD, tells WebMD that the OAT trial highlights the importance of seeking
treatment early when heart attack symptoms occur.
"When someone is having a heart attack, time is of the essence," he
says. "We know that if we can reopen blocked arteries and provide adequate
blood flow within the first hour or so the patient will usually have minimal