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Coronary artery disease: unpublished data show stents have a higher risk of heart attack and death than open surgery

An article[1] summarising an investigation by BBC Newsnight may raise concerns for many people who have had stents inserted to help with a type of heart disease.

The current European guidelines recommend use of both stents (a small metal tube inside an artery) and open heart surgery (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery) for low risk patients with narrowing of their left main coronary artery (an artery that supplies the heart muscle).

However, an investigation by BBC Newsnight showed that during an important clinical trial some researchers did not publish results using a standard definition of a ‘heart attack’. When that standard definition is used then “patients in the trial that had received stents had 80% more heart attacks than those who had open heart surgery

In response to the programme the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery (EACTS)[2] says “patients with left main coronary artery disease treated with stents are 35% more likely to die than those treated with conventional open heart surgery “ and “It is a matter of serious concern to us that some results … appear to have been concealed and that some patients may therefore have received the wrong clinical advice”.

They go on to say “we deeply regret the obvious concern that this will raise for some patients and their families. We recommend that patients seek the advice of the multidisciplinary heart team at their hospital before deciding which treatment option is most appropriate for them”

If you are worried by the content of the TV programme or the article then you should speak to your cardiologist.

Not all long-term heart problems are the result of clinical negligence. However, some are and so if you feel that you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence then please contact us if you wish to discuss your potential claim for compensation.

Our expert Medical Negligence team consist of dedicated specialists with many years of experience in pursuing successful claims for medical negligence.

We provide a free, defined, no obligation, review of your circumstances to see whether there may be grounds for a claim.



Dr Darren Conway PhD is a Solicitor in our Medical Negligence Department here at Sternberg Reed, specialising in helping those who have suffered an avoidable injury in a medical setting.

If you want to find out more and see how Sternberg Reed could help you, click HERE

Or call us on 0208 591 3366

For more information regarding NHS complaints process, please click HERE.

This article does not constitute legal advice and you should contact us directly if you are facing a similar situation.



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* Soulla Kokkinos, Andrew Crossley,  Julian Beard, Francecsa Clay.