(The following is a guest commentary from Deborah Shaw, Director of Education at Angioplasty.Org.)
These leaked Abbott emails (in the Senate Finance Committee Report on Cardiac Stents regarding Dr. Midei in Maryland) reveal that healthcare marketing professionals, especially those that aren’t involved directly in patient care, sometimes forget that this is serious stuff. It’s about life and death: the work they do profoundly affects sick, vulnerable people who are afraid they might die, and who could be your dad or your daughter. Continue reading
Monday’s 172-page Senate Finance Committee Staff Report on the overuse of coronary stents by Dr. Mark Midei at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Maryland has been all over the news — over 300 articles to date, claiming fraud, malpractice, pig roasts, threats to reporters — all of which serve to rekindle the “anti-stent” sentiment that followed on the heels of the COURAGE study back in 2007. In fact, Dr. William Boden, principal investigator for COURAGE, was interviewed for the Senate report, which characterized him as follows: Continue reading
FAMEous interventional cardiologist William Fearon of Stanford sat down with Angioplasty.Org recently to talk about a better way to judge if a patient might benefit from a stent. Instead of looking at the x-ray angiogram and saying, “That’s a 70% blockage — let’s put a stent in there and you’ll feel much better,” Dr. Fearon advocates the use of a thin pressure wire which actually measures the flow through the narrowing. The technology is called Fractional Flow Reserve or FFR.
Turns out that sometimes what looks like a blockage on the x-ray isn’t always restricting the flow enough to cause ischemia (reduced oxygen to the heart muscle which usually, but not always, results in angina). And vice-versa, sometimes ischemia/angina is being caused by an area that doesn’t look so bad on the angiogram. Continue reading
I wrote about this issue over a month ago (see “To Stent or Not to Stent: That is the Question!“) but today’s newspapers are filled once again with the sad story of Maryland cardiologist Dr. Mark Midei, St. Joseph’s Medical Center and the alleged hundreds of unnecessary stents placed in patients who didn’t need them. This sudden renewed interest comes as the Senate investigational report by Senators Baucus and Grassley into this matter was made available — and into the mix of the story was added a pig roast, the Philadelphia mob, Abbott Vascular’s celebration of Midei implanting 30 of their stents in a single day and an email from a company executive, suggesting that someone take a Baltimore Sun reporter outside and “kick his ass!” Continue reading