Kansas City study shows some completed heart procedures were unnecessary

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | 6:35 p.m. CDT; updated 4:55 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

KANSAS CITY — A new study from Kansas City's St. Luke's Hospital says some heart patients may be getting treatment they don't need.

The study shows that one out of nine non-emergency angioplasties may have been inappropriate. The Kansas City Star reported that about 70 percent of angioplasties are done on emergency patients who are experiencing heart attacks or who are at immediate risk. Other angioplasties are considered elective.

The St. Luke's study used data collected by the American College of Cardiology on about 500,000 angioplasties performed in 2009 and 2010 at 1,091 U.S. hospitals.

Previous research has also shown that many heart patients can do just as well without the procedure, which involves inserting a tiny balloon in heart arteries to clear blockage, if they get the right medication, diet and exercise.

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