The research, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds overuse is prevalent regarding this invasive treatment, which tallies an estimated $12 billion a year in health care costs.
The Wall Street Journal: Heart Treatment Overused
Outside of heart attacks, doctors are often too quick to use a common $20,000 procedure to treat patients suffering from coronary artery disease, a new study suggests. About 600,000 angioplasty procedures, which almost always involve placement of a tiny metal tube called a stent, are done in the U.S. each year. Roughly 70 percent of these procedures are performed on patients suffering symptoms of a heart attack and aren't medically controversial. But the remainder are done on stable patients who are suffering mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Of those, 50 percent are deemed appropriate, 38 percent uncertain and 12 percent inappropriate, the report says (Winslow and Carreyrou, 7/6).