New research from the federal government found that common heart surgeries to remove blockages in arteries — like bypasses — are unnecessary because they can be treated with drug therapy.
The study "certainly will challenge our clinical thinking," said Dr. Alice Jacobs, director of Cath Lab and Interventional Cardiology at Boston University.
Patients that received drug therapy alone, with no surgery, for blocked arteries did not have any more heart attacks than those that did have surgery, the research found, challenging decades of common medical knowledge.
"You would think that if you fix the blockage the patient will feel better or do better," said Dr. Alice Jacobs, director of Cath Lab and Interventional Cardiology at Boston University to The New York Times.
Another doctor estimated to the Times that patients choosing drug therapy over surgery could save roughly $775 million a year.