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Coronary Bypass Surgery Outperforms Angioplasty

In a head-to-head comparison of procedures that combat advanced heart disease, coronary bypass surgery saved more lives and prevented more heart attacks than angioplasty in people with diabetes. Researchers enrolled 1,900 patients with clogged heart arteries. Half received angioplasty, which uses a tiny balloon and a drug-releasing stent to prop open a narrowed artery. The rest had bypass surgery, which uses a blood vessel taken from another part of the body to create an alternate route for blood to get around a blockage in the heart. After five years, 16 percent of the stent recipients died and 14 percent had a heart attack. With bypass, the numbers were lower; 11 percent died and 6 percent had heart attacks. Angioplasty, however, was associated with a lower risk of stroke.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 4, 2012