Does my stent protect me from having an event?
no. Stents do not prevent heart attacks.
The COURAGE trial showed that stents are no better than medication therapy at preventing heart attacks (1). Stents and bypass procedures are usually done to treat symptoms of heart disease, like angina, which is caused by obstructive plaque (see below, far right). Heart attacks happen when soft vulnerable plaque ruptures, which causes a clot, or a thrombus to form, which blocks the blood flow to the heart muscle. Most heart attacks happen to people who do not need a stent or bypass (see How Artery Disease Develops).
Angioplasty is a balloon placed inside the artery to smash open the obstructive plaque. A stent is a wire mesh tube placed into the artery to keep it open.
Having a stent or bypass procedure means that your prevention program isn't working. Don't waste any more time. Find a prevention program that really works.
What caused the blockage?
If each and every one of the underlying forces that caused the blockage to develop are not neutralized, the artery disease will only get worse. Fixing one little area of obstruction (or two or three) does not fix the underlying problems that caused the plaque to form.
Fix one blockage at a time?
Why just fix one small problem area at a time? Why not fix all the arteries, all over the body?
Aggressive medical therapy addresses the process that causes plaque to get worse, by addressing each and every risk factor. If all the arteries all over the body are getting better, no further stents or bypass will be needed.
why are stents more popular than prevention?
Click on the button below to watch a short trailer for the riveting film, The Widowmaker, from Patrick Forbes, the Director of Documentary Films at the BBC. It's on Amazon Prime.
how do you know whether you're getting better or worse?
Don't wait until you need another procedure. Don't wait to have an event.
Check out our unique Ask the Arteries trending program. We check more arteries than anyone: two tests, each three months apart. If your arteries are getting worse, you'll know it.
Boden, William, et al. the COURAGE Trial Research Group, Optimal Medical Therapy with or without PCI for Stable Coronary Disease, N Engl J Med 2007; 356:1503-1516 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa070829