Does my stent or bypass protect me from having an event?

no. Stents and bypass surgery 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 (see How Artery Disease Develops). 

artery disease

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.

angioplasty and stent

Having a stent or bypass procedure means that your prevention program isn't working. Don't waste any more time. Find one that 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.

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

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. If your arteries are getting worse, you'll know it.

I had my first stent at 40 and another at 50. Eleven months later, they said I needed another stent for a 99% blockage. I asked the cardiologist if there was anything else that could be done. He only kept me on my statin, when what I wanted was someone to help me from a prevention standpoint. I was really impressed when I came to Atlanta to see Dr. Hight. I believe people need two different specialists: someone who does a great job putting in stents, and someone who does a great job at prevention.
— Dr. Bob Corbett, (DVM) - Spring City, UT


  1. 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