For patients experiencing a heart attack, stents can be lifesaving, restoring blood flow to a blocked coronary artery feeding the heart. But hundreds of thousands of cardiac stents (as well as cardiac bypass surgeries) are performed in the U.S. each year for patients with stable blockages. According to Dr. David Maron, the Director of Preventive Cardiology at Stanford, many of these procedures – particularly those performed for patients without severe symptoms – are unnecessary. According to Dr. Maron, patients, with guidance from their doctors, should drive the decision about when to perform these procedures. Yet too often it is the doctors pushing these procedures.
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