Study: Drugs as good as stents

Score another point for drug therapy over stents. A new report shows that patients with chest pain but no emergency heart troubles do just as well on drugs as they would with implanted stents. Angioplasty did have a slight advantage on pain relief at first, but that shrank after six months and disappeared within three years.

This could be good news for patients--who wouldn't have to go through the procedure--along with payers, who have to shell out some $40,000 for angioplasty. Not to mention drugmakers. "This study should be enlightening and practice-changing," leading more to try drugs before stents, said Duke's Dr. Eric Peterson, who co-authored an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine about the report.

- read the story in the Washington Post