Study: Experience of doctor counts in angioplasty success
November 13, 1996
Web posted at: 9:50 p.m. EST
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- More than half of the cardiologists performing
balloon angioplasty in the United States don't meet minimum standards, and
patients' health often suffers, according to a new study.
Duke University Medical Center researchers presented their findings
Wednesday at the annual American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans.
The less experience the heart surgeon has, the more likely the patient is
to have to undergo more costly and painful procedures or risk dying, according
to the researchers.
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology set
standards in 1988 for doing a minimum amount of angioplasty procedures in order
to achieve best results. The guidelines require doctors do at least 50
procedures per year.
Patients who had balloon angioplasty done by doctors who didn't meet the
guidelines were more likely to need a repeat procedure or heart bypass surgery.
Their chances of complications were also higher.
Results of the study showed 6 percent of patients whose doctors did fewer
than 25 angioplasties per year needed subsequent bypass surgery or died in the
hospital. When doctors did 25-50 angioplasties each year, bypass and death
rates dropped to 5.6 percent; and for doctors who did more than 50, 4.7 percent
needed bypass or died. The results show if more experienced doctors did the
procedures, 1,129 patients would have avoided bypass surgery or death.
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