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Stent risks are significant

Baltimore Sun, July 25, 2010

Coronary stents, which have became a multibillion-dollar medical industry, might not be as safe — or as effective — as once thought. But cardiologists are unclear about much more than simply whether stents have medical value, as evidenced by the case of Midei, who is accused of performing hundreds of unnecessary procedures yet is defended vociferously by patients and colleagues. Some doctors still argue over seemingly fundamental details, such as how to measure blockage on an X-ray, or when it is appropriate to choose surgery over stenting or medication. And now they have a new uncertainty to resolve: Will placing a stent lead to a patient's survival or the doctor's indictment?