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Do I Really Need an Angioplasty?

Self-scrutiny is a good thing. Without it one can’t learn from their past. Without it there can be no growth.  Along these lines, kudos to the American College of Cardiology (ACC).  Last week the American Medical Association released a study done by the ACC itself suggesting a portion of angioplasties performed were inappropriate for the symptoms presented.  In the last decade the number of angioplasties performed has tripled, fueling even further debate, and now self-policing by the heart doctors! Too many of these unnecessary medical tests are being done on unsuspecting patients. The appropriateness of angioplasty, versus a combination of medication, exercise and a proper diet, has been under debate for years.

With the rising concern of medical costs, it is admirable at least one medical group of physicians has begun scrutinizing their own procedures.  Medical societies can’t be passive– they need to be active, front- line participants in searching for ways to reduce healthcare expenses.  Studying the relevance of high priced procedures is a step in the right direction.  That said, let’s not forget the same responsibilities apply to the patient.

Making Smart Medical Decisions

Patients often defer to their individual doctor and information gleamed at cocktail parties on which to base costly medical decisions.  I’m not questioning your doctor or your friends, however, it is just as important for the patient to display self-scrutiny as well.  What I mean by this is, have you done your homework?  Have you investigated your illness thoroughly? The treatment options for your illness?  The side-effects and success rates of the treatments?  With the power of the internet, literally at our fingertips, a patient doesn’t need to be uninformed and a ‘blind follower’.  The EDUCATED patient asks questions; “Why do I need this procedure and is there a less invasive, LESS COSTLY, treatment (i.e. diet, exercise and medication vs. an angioplasty)?”  Get a second opinion.  Then get a third opinion. It should never offend your physician.  If it does, you need a new physician.  You probably get multiple opinions and quotes on how to fix a leaking basement, why wouldn’t you do the same for a leaky heart?

Let me repeat what I said at the beginning, self-scrutiny is a good thing, for all of us.

Thanks for reading!

Healthcare Advocate

Rebecca Busch


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