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Heart Disease In The News

You mean - more people need bypass surgery?
March 2, 2001

A new study reported in the March 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine will no doubt warm the cockles of many a heart surgeon's heart.  The study, conducted in the United Kingdom, concludes that many more patients should be receiving coronary artery bypass surgery.  

The study shows that the decision as to whether to perform such surgery is often a subjective one, and that using an established set of objective guidelines to make this decision will improve the care of patients.  Using such guidelines will also, by the way, greatly increase the number of operations being performed.

How well this result from the UK - where health care is all but openly rationed, and the use of high-tech procedures is highly regulated - will translate to the wild west medical care of the U.S. is not at all certain.  But given the bad news that U.S. cardiac surgeons have been absorbing of late - the widening use of non-surgical techniques such as angioplasty and stents, the publicity being garnered by surgical side effects such as Pump Head - this study will probably be a welcome addition to the medical literature.

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