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Too many people get angioplasties, study says

MSNBC / Reuters, May 25, 2012

One out of every seven patients having a non-emergency angioplasty to clear a clogged artery in the heart didn't meet criteria for needing the procedure, in a new study from New York. And based on guidelines, it was uncertain whether the stent-inserting surgery was appropriate in another one-half of patients. Stent procedures have exploded in popularity in recent years—and several studies have raised concerns about overuse (see Reuters Health reports of July 5, 2011 and July 7, 2011). Angioplasty procedures cost around $12,000 to $15,000, compared to medications, which can be several hundred dollars per year. Many patients who have a heart procedure also take medications.