Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Heart stenting on the rise in Canada

The number of Canadians having blocked heart arteries opened with a non-surgical procedure more than doubled between 1994 and 2005, mirroring trends seen in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, according to a new study. It is unclear whether the increase reflects appropriate use of the procedure, called angioplasty, or has been "too great" - or possibly not great enough - said lead researcher Dr. Ansar Hassan, of Saint John Regional Hospital in Canada. During angioplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded into a clogged artery to push blockages aside; usually a small mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to help keep it from re-narrowing. For the study, published in the American Heart Journal, Hassan and his colleagues looked at government data on all cases of angioplasty and heart bypass surgery - another option for treating blocked heart arteries - across Canada - Reuters

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