Best Law Firms
American Board of Trial Advocates
2010 Street Fighter of The Year Award Finalists
Irish Legal 100
The Best Lawyers in America
Santa Clara County Bar
Super Lawyers
The National Trial Lawyers
California Lawyer
Top One
Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association

New Studies Show Heart Stents Are a Risky Placebo

PlaceboHave you ever seen a parent give a child an adhesive bandage for an invisible wound? As if by some miracle, the child stops crying and is healed of all ailments. This quick fix is known as a placebo effect, where the remedy comes not from the medical treatment itself but the patient’s perceived benefit of the given procedure.

While a bandage is inexpensive, some placebos carry a much more significant risk and price tag. One such procedure is the placement of heart stents. A new study shows that in stable patients, heart stents are useless. However, they are still widely used and place patients in unnecessary danger.

What is the use of Heart Stents?

A stent is a tiny mesh tube placed within arteries to prop them open permanently. Occasionally, fatty deposits called plaque can build up, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the heart. This reduction is known as angina and causes chest pain, heart attacks, and possible death. There is no questioning that angina has potentially severe consequences and requires medical treatment.

Heart Stent Effectiveness

For the last few decades, the placement of heart stents was preferable to many other forms of treatment. The placement of the stents reduced recurrence of collapsing arteries, reduced chest pain, improved quality life, and even potentially prevented heart attacks. However, a 2007 control trial involving over 2,300 patients called these benefits into question.

With this trial, some patients received stents and medical therapy, while others only received medical treatment. The results found no significant difference between the two groups. Since then, stents have been the subject of many studies, all with the same outcome. For most stable patients, heart stents are no more effective than a placebo. The medical therapy alone made the same impact.

Special Circumstances

Heart stents still are useful in the medical arena, just not to the extent and prevalence as once perceived. These studies used stable patients with only one compromised vessel. Perhaps those who have further damage or are unresponsive to medical therapy alone will find benefit. On the other hand, consider the potential risks of undergoing any surgical procedure. The adverse effects of placing heart stents include:

  • Allergic reactions;
  • Breathing problems;
  • Bleeding;
  • Artery blockage;
  • Blood clots;
  • Heart attacks;
  • Seizures; and
  • Strokes.
Are the Benefits Worth the Price Tag?

The average cost of heart stents is approximately $10,000.00. Your doctor should tell you that medical treatment alone showed the same amount of improvement as those who received stents. Stents may not be alone. Only 1 percent of medical devices earn approval by proving effectiveness.

If you received a medical device and suffered injury, a Santa Clara County, CA defective medical device attorney can help. The attorneys at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. will thoroughly examine your case and hold every accountable party responsible for your injuries. Call us today at (408) 289-1417 for your free consultation.

Client Reviews
My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.