NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - https://archive.org/web/.
Read Original Story

Stent procedure reduces stay to repair aneurysm

Rating

2 Star

Stent procedure reduces stay to repair aneurysm

Our Review Summary

This is an unbalanced story on the supposed benefits of the use of a stent to repair an aortic aneurysm. The risk of an untreated aneurysm which the reader is told “can burst, causing severe back pain and often death within minutes” is not contrasted with the risks of having had an aneurysm treated. There was no mention of the potential harms of using a stent. There was also no mention of costs. The only framework for the story is provided by a single source – a local surgeon who performs the procedure. The story needed at least one other independent source. The patient who was profiled is said to be an individual in his 80s and in poor health. The evidence to support the statement that the procedure “saved his life” is unclear. It is also worth noting that most aortic aneurysms are abdominal and screening for them is not only considered ineffective, but the best therapy is unclear.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No mention of costs; article explained that no routine scans are typically done for

the underlying anomaly because Medicare won’t cover chest X-rays for this purpose.

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

Not Satisfactory

Estimate of death rate from the procedure is presumably for death immediately

following the procedure. No data on the benefit from the treatment (symptom relief, longevity improvement, quality of life

or quality of death)

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

Not Satisfactory

No mention of harms from the procedure.

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

Not Satisfactory

Where does the mortality data on the

use of the stent come from?

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

How many people have these aneurysms?

Is there a range of severity? No discussion of the natural history of these problems.

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

Not Satisfactory

The only source is a surgeon who does

this procedure; no other independent opinion is included.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

Mentions open heart surgery

to fix an aneurysm with a 30-50% mortality rate. Data presented for this procedure, thoracic endoprosthesis, is 1-5% death

rate. However this difference may be explained by a difference in patient populations.

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

Satisfactory

Mentions new device approval by the FDA for use to fix “a bulging artery near the heart”.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

Mentions that this device is

similar to that of a heart stent placed in the aorta to repair an aneurysm (i.e. not innovative, but a new ‘model’ and

application).

Total Score: 2 of 9 Satisfactory

Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.