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Are Kidney Stents a Better Alternative to Medication?


Posted on Nov 21, 2013

Numerous people go through expensive surgeries at the recommendation of their physician. According to a recent study, one particular device known as a kidney stent may be no more effective than blood pressure medication. 

Bloomberg sheds light on the lack of effectiveness of kidney stents.

Most people get expensive kidney stent surgery because they are told that it will help with their heart health. But Bloomberg shows that this is not always the case.

“A procedure to clear and prop open clogged kidney arteries didn’t offer a cardiovascular benefit to patients more than drug therapy, researchers said, underscoring the need to use medicines first to reduce heart disease,” according to Bloomberg. The study shows that stenting was no more beneficial than normal drug therapy.

Stenting has been shown to reduce blood pressure issues but that does not necessarily mean it helps with heart health. Also blood pressure can be brought down with normal drug therapy as well. One expert told Bloomberg, “The study establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that renal-artery stenting is futile for the target population enrolled in the study. The challenge remains for future trials of renal-artery stenting to identify a suitable target population for enrollment.”

The researchers said that if people want to get a stent they can but the study shows that it is not the preferred first form of treatment. Aggressive drug therapy would be easier on the patient as well as less expensive.

Bloomberg reports, “Medicare, the U.S. government’s health insurance program for the elderly, is likely to review their coverage of the treatment based on the study’s results. A 2007 study showed stenting the cardiac arteries failed to ward off heart problems better than drugs.”

 

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