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Drugs as good as stents for many heart patients


5 Star

Drugs as good as stents for many heart patients

Our Review Summary

This story reported on the results of a recent study which found that the relief of chest pain from heart disease was only transiently better in those who had an angioplasty along with medical therapy as compared to those who only received medical therapy.  It indicated that angioplasty is still indicated for the treatment of a heart attack or for those whose symptoms of heart disease was worsening.  The story did a good job communicating that medical therapy may not be a simple thing to accomplish and likely would involve many interactions between patient and clinician in order to get it right. 


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


The story included an estimate for the cost of an angioplasty.  Although mentioning that it may take many office visits to get medical therapy right, the story should have included an estimated cost for this as well.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story reported on the percent of individuals in the two treatment groups who reported relief of chest pain and that by 3 years, there was no difference between the groups.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story mentioned that one of the harms of this report might be that patients may now be given medication without adequate testing to show that angioplasty can be safely delayed.  While the story mentioned that currently 1/3 of people receiving an angioplasty may not need it, it failed to mention the harms of angioplasty. 

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


Although the story did not adequately describe the type of study the information came from, it did indicate the number of individuals studied and provided results in terms of absolute benefit.  It also indicated that individuals in the study were stable and that this contrasts with those who are having a heart attack or experiencing worsening of symptoms.  The story also mentioned where the study had been published so that an interested reader could follow-up on the story if they were interested.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story did not engage in overt disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


The story included quotes from 5 clinicians, one of whom was identified as one of the study co-authors.  Ideally, the story would have clearly identified whether or not the remaining 4 clinicians were involved in the study.  

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story provided readers with the results of the study indicating that enhanced relief of chest pain from coronary heart disease was only temporarily better in people who received angioplasty than in those who received optimal medical therapy.  

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


There is no doubt in the story about how widespread both angioplasty and angina medications are in use.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story captured the novelty of a new study’s observation that the size of the benefit of angioplasty was surprisingly not as large as was thought and that even that was transient. It gave appropriate context on the use of both angioplasty and medications for angina.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


The story does not rely exclusively on a press release.

Total Score: 9 of 10 Satisfactory


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