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Heart Stents

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:51am
Read this story in the New York Times. I think it is really well written and takes a complicated medical issue and fairly and clearly presents the various aspects of it.

I post it to give a sense of the complexity of advanced medical treatment. A new technology emerges that appears to hold great promise of treating disease -- in this case, drug-coated stents vs. non-coated stents vs. cardiac surgery. As time passes, doubts emerge as to the relative efficacy of the three.

The solution for the doctor is to stay up-to-date on the latest literature and studies and try to do what is best for the patient who shows up today. Unfortunately, the evidence is not always conclusive. I think this is a significant emotional burden for both patients and doctors. You can't ask someone who is having a heart attack to wait until this is resolved. You also can't ask a doctor who is treating the patient to wait until this is resolved.

I am certainly not wise enough to offer a solution to this particular or general problem, and so I welcome your thoughts.
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