HEALTHCAST— A major medical development… Flipping the script this morning on a long-standing debate in cardiology.


The results of a highly-anticipated federal study… Indicating lifestyle changes and medication are just as effective as common invasive heart procedures – like stents – for patients with stable heart disease.

“We’re talking about millions of Americans that this could potentially impact,” Azar said.

The study – presented at the American heart association’s annual meeting – was the largest of its kind, and examined over five-thousand patients across 37 countries.

Its focus: Subjects with ischemic heart disease…Or, most often, those whose coronary arteries are narrowed due to plaque build-up.

The trial concluded that surgeries often recommended when those patients complain of chest pain and tightness during exercise – might not be so necessary after all.

“It’s been thought., that if you have narrowings in your coronary arteries you would do better if the narrowings were opened or bypassed,” Dr. Judith Hochman said.

Hochman and her team led the way while providing patients with routine heart drugs like statins and aspirin along with healthy lifestyle suggestions.

While half had an additional intervention like a stent or bypass surgery.

“We found no added benefit for an invasive strategy,” Hochman said.

Researchers discovered that procedures were just marginally more effective than medications at reducing chest pain during exercise, and found little difference between the groups in major heart disease outcomes like heart attacks.

“Medications now are much better than they were ten-twenty years ago,” Hochman said

As some experts say the study could be a turning point and help guide conversations about treatment options for millions of patients.

“I think this really drives home the point that being compliant with your medications and working with your doctor or health care provider to achieve those lifestyle changes can really impact your health,” Azar said.

If you’ve never experienced it before, or if it doesn’t go away within a few minutes, please call 911 immediately.