Which approach is the right one: more invasive or less invasive?

• My mother is 58 years of age, normal weight, exercises, and has no sign of a heart condition, ie. chest pain , shortness of breath, or any other systems. Recently she went to her doctor with great concern she had breast cancer which in turn made her frantic so when her blood pressure was taken it was 180 over 90, So she was told to go for a stress test which showed two blockages when in a stressful situation, that doctor recommended a cardiac catheterization and angioplasty and stents, this made me concerned and I requested she get a second opinion, the second doctor said he would begin with the cardiac catheterization and then he feels there may be no reason to do anything further than use medication and diet to treat her, he also felt that angioplasty and stints show no prroof in prolonging life expectancy. Her blood pressure has been normal except for that one occasion and she is now a basket case thinking she is dying. I am not sure which doctor I feel more comfortable with, considering her great shape the other no sytem factors and the lowering of her blood pressure. I lean toward the second's precautionary methods. If anyone could shed any light on this it would be greatly appreciated.
Vicki Ferentinos, Sparta, New Jersey, USA, January 4, 2000

I'd be glad to answer your question if you clarify how you know there are blockages from a stress test. I assume there was a nuclear or echo stress test. These stress tests only "suggest" possible blockage and are approximately 90% accurate, which means they can show 10% of the time a false positive or a false negative. 90% accuracy is an average over different labs where some labs accuracy sinks to less than 80% which is half way between a fact and a guess. You are half right about angioplasty not making a big difference. Angioplasty saves lives under certain coronary conditions where the blockages are more than "significant". One must consider the level of blockage and the results from and echo or nuclear stress test. Anyway, noting the date of your question I'm sure you have been updated regarding the condition. Good luck. ^^O^^
Orhan Kaunis, New York, New York, USA, 11 May 2000

I have an irregular heartbeat.I have had regular and nuclear stress tests with normal results. The pictures taken during the nuclear test (64) showed a slight eschemia in my heart.I am 70 years old.My doctor wants to do an angiogram to check for blockage.Can blockage cause an irregular heartbeat?
Ben Buongiorno, Patient, Houston, Texas, USA, 1 Aug 2001

• Need to lower blood pressure
Fredrick Boata, Rima Impex, Ghana, West Africa, 14 Mar 2002


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