Wake-up calls on stents for heart disease

According to a new study published January 15, 2009, in the New England Journal of Medicine, people with clogged heart arteries are being overtreated with stents.

by Mary Budinger — 

According to a new study published January 15, 2009, in the New England Journal of Medicine, people with clogged heart arteries are being overtreated with stents. Fewer deaths, heart attacks and repeat procedures occurred when doctors implanted fewer of these tiny artery props, and when doctors used the blood-flow test to decide when they were truly needed.

“This is the story of the year,” said Dr. Garry Gordon, co-founder of American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). “The fact that 12 to 18 percent of patients within a year have either a death or a heart event, or need more surgery means that stents are providing little or no benefit to patients getting them. The more intervention, the sooner you die.”

An angioplasty procedure pushes a balloon into a blood vessel to flatten the blockage, leaving a stent to prop the artery open. When drug-coated stents were first introduced in 2003, they became the fastest-selling medical device in recent history. Doctors thought that the drugs would prevent tissue regrowth. But in 2006, studies emerged showing that patients with drug-coated stents were more likely to develop potentially fatal blood clots months and even years later.

In March 2007, results from the Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation (COURAGE) trial concluded that drugs for hypertension, dyslipidemia and clotting, along with lifestyle modification programs, should be the first treatment options for patients with stable coronary artery disease.

In 2000, The Lancet reported that, “Allergic reactions to nickel and molybdenum released from stents may be one of the triggering mechanisms for in-stent restenosis.” Literature tells us that some of the ions released from these devices are able to destroy or damage enzymes and proteins, in addition to causing allergic reactions.

A stent is a foreign object in the body; it incites an immune response. This may cause scar tissue to rapidly grow over the stent. Also, there is a strong tendency for clots to form at the site where the stent damages the arterial wall.

American heart surgeons install about a million stents annually. Stents are less commonly used in Europe, implanted in only about 15 percent of patients, while drug-lined stents are used in as many as 30 percent of Americans who have heart attacks.

Stents, good or bad, don’t address the causes of heart disease. Our blood tends to thicken, due to inflammatory foods and chronic infections. Blood moves through the arteries like water flowing through a river, and sometimes it is turbulent. Hard blood cells nick the walls, and the body uses cholesterol like a patch over the nicks. In time, the patches calcify, harden and the arteries narrow. When too little blood gets to the heart muscle, it begins to die and signals its death with pain.

Chelation has long been a successful, natural alternative to narrowing of the arteries. Many people think it works like Drano to “rotor rooter” the arteries. Wrong. Chelation works on the sources of chronic inflammation, which make the blood thick and hard as it travels through arteries.

“We now know some heart conditions have as much as a twenty-thousand times increase in the level of toxic heavy metals, so definitely heavy metals are inflammatory and one reason we have so much heart disease,” said Gordon. “Also, every artery removed at bypass surgery reveals evidence of some form of infection, and the more infections present, the sooner the patient will have their fatal heart attack. Chelation is anti-viral. The administration of oral or IV EDTA also aids the body by improving nitric oxide production, which improves blood flow by allowing the vessels to expand.”

Chelation and the removal of mercury fillings and root canals address some of the causes of heart disease.

 

Mary Budinger is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She is a medical freelance writer and researcher about and for alternative medicine. 602-494-1999.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2009.

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